Can the pumpkin save the world?




The world is holding its breath. Soon, Kim Jong Un and  Donald Trump will meet and hopefully come to an agreement on their weaponry. I wonder who is more of a dictator now? With Trump seemingly able to pardon himself for any wrongdoing, I reckon they are both neck on neck with claiming the winner of the race to an ultimate dictatorship.

Helvi and I often end up discussing politics. She is getting more and more despondent about the situation in Australia. ‘So little is decided and so little is being done’ , she said last night. ‘There is so much of nothingness in Australia now.’ We are still living of the success of SSM but for how long will that continue to nurture us? The same old stuff seems to get regurgitated over and over. I was a young and ambitious man when the second Sydney  airport was discussed. Has anyone heard anything about that lately? The same with education. All sorts of rapports and tests but nothing improves. The only time we read about it, it talks about a student getting a haircut or how the school bullying has resulted in misery and suicide. Anything about the fast trains or how the hydro electricity in the Snowy mountains is progressing?  Plastic shopping bags and non deposit glass was dealt with and banned in Holland in the seventies.

The only positive that has happened is that pumpkins are now for sale at 99c a kilo. We do not need to just live of the glory of SSM!  We rushed out and stocked up for the rest of the winter. Nothing can be more positive than a nice pumpkin and what can be made of it. A warning though!. There are hidden dangers. Pumpkins, sharp knives and over- enthusiastic cooks have often come to grief.

We snapped up four pumpkins for starters, with a large bag of potatoes, leeks, onions and garlic, lots of garlic. We noticed many doing the same. It seems that the message of good diets might be getting through. Some shoppers still try to sneak in a carton of Coke or lemonade but you can tell by their furtive eye movements that they are battling with their conscience. I used to give them stern looks but in my dotage have mellowed, and now manage a generous smile of understanding. I too used to sip a Coke!

Going back to my pumpkins. A good friend said that she never peels the pumpkin. It is even possible to bake an entire pumpkin without even cutting it in half. This is the wonder of having friends that share cooking and politics. I never knew one could bake an entire pumpkin. There I was sharpening my chopper and large knife including, a filleting knife (from Finland) trying to cut my pumpkin in sizeable portions to be baked in the oven. I never just boil pumpkin without first baking it together with the leeks, garlic and onions drizzled with a nice olive oil. There used to be a bar near central Sydney railway where you could actually sit on a stool and sample different oils and vinegars.

That’s what I miss here in Bowral. It is all so Anglo and nice! We have a lot of different salvias growing. The gardeners were here today, and I just said (in jest) in the presence of a neighbour peering at our salvias. ‘You know, this salvia is very good for rolling and smoking! In some US states it is forbidden to grow it because it can give you the smile of an angel and mildly hallucinates.’ The neighbour looked wry. Helvi kicked me in the shin.

Anyway, from now on I will not peel pumpkin. It will just be part of the soup. I add a little chilli with a good spoonful of turmeric. After baking it for 30 minutes I whisk the lot to a fine harmonious and mellow yellow soup. It is truly a magic dish.

My suggestion is to Singapore and the meeting between those giants of atomic might, to be given the best chance of peace resolution and give them this pumpkin soup lavishly, with dollops of sour cream and crusty sour-dough bread .

A food worthy of peace.


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30 Responses to “Can the pumpkin save the world?”

  1. Dorot Brett Says:

    I remember many many years ago when you and Helvi returned from a trip to South America. You both thought that Australia resembled a third world country compared to what you had seen in Argentina.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      So true, Dorothy. It was a wonderful trip. Argentina was less wealthy but it had life. You know, they do a tango and those steaks!
      In Spain the new PM is putting Australia to shame. It has appointed 11 FEMALE ministers to a 17 member parliament. Australia has 5 Females out of 22.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. urban liaisons Says:

    You can bake the pumpkin in slices also in a pan with oliveoil, not peeling it, giving it a special favourite, then using the slices as usually for preparing a delicious soup with potatoe and carrots optionally with curry and/or ginger and/or chili as a spice. Very nice and warming in winter, but won’t save the world of course! Greetings @ Ulli

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, Ulli,

    There is nothing like curling up with a good hot pumpkin soup.

    I like the baking of the pumpkin in a very hot oven first. The ingredients get a bit caramelised with a smoky taste.

    We just had a nice Risotto made from chicken stock Not chicken cubes but boiling real chicken carcass with celery, onions, herbs and spices.


  4. Dejan Says:

    Where I come from, we make bundevara: “sweet pie made of rolled phyllo or similar to strudel, filled with sweetened grated pumpkin pulp and baked in an oven”. Thanks for the reminder, Gerard… Got to get some pumpkin!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I forgot to mention that the pulp including the seeds are very nice to eat as well.
      In Indonesia the pumpkin is fed to pigs and it’s the flowers and the leaves of the pumpkin that gets eaten.


  5. Robert Parker Says:

    This sounds delicious but it’s still hours til lunchtime. Where I’m from, they’re starting to grow pumpkins for oil & seeds (pepitas) and I’m hooked on them. I think an Austrian oil pumpkin, flattish and heavy. I’ve made butternut squash soup, with ginger, but not pumpkin, and I’ll try a little turmeric now, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Robert. The pumpkin has taken the world by storm. I do hope that the meeting in Singapore will include my pumpkin recipe.

      I am sure that Kim Jung in would like it very much.

      My biggest fear is that Trump won’t be able keep his hands near the pumpkin soup bowl and inappropriately deal with any females sitting near him.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    The soup sounds fabulous. We won’t be seeing a pumpkin till Fall, but I have it in my memory till then. That of course is providing Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump don’t destroy the world as we know it in the meantime. I spend a lot of time asking “How the hell did this happen?” Life is simpler in the kitchen.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The kitchen is a nice and safe environment. I hope that Trump and Kim will work things out. The unification of North and South Korea would be marvellous.
      Whole pumpkins stay good for many months, Kayti. It might be worth while stocking up on pumpkins. The garden shed or a cellar might be a good place.


  7. stuartbramhall Says:

    It’s my view that the US has no choice but to reconcile with North Korea – with the new South Korean president the unification of North and South Korea is inevitable. At the moment the US is desperate to stay in the game to prevent all their troops from being expelled from South Korea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I do hope that the South and North reconcile and become united again.
      The US will then be isolated. I can’t see the US voluntarily pulling back their troops. Next, Japan will ask the US to also pull out their troops and leave.
      In the meantime, the new boy on the block, China, will increasingly become the new powerhouse. Their economic growth is just unstoppable and amazing. They are managing to pull millions out of poverty that took hundreds of years in our culture.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. petspeopleandlife Says:

    You are correct about China becoming a power house and it likely already is, along with Russia. The US will be sniveling and belly crawling to those nations if our current administration is not very, very careful.

    I love pumpkin soup and butternut squash soup and all of the winter vegetable made in to soup or just merely cooked to simmer until done. I then drain the water and add olive oil, salt and pepper and eat that along with the vegetables on my plate.

    Hemp oil is legal to sell or ship in all 50 states but you are correct that only a few states have passed laws allowing it to be grown. Jeff Sessions, aka as Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes would like to ban Mary Jane if he possibly could.

    Boehner (sp) who retired as GOP speaker of the house joined a group in support of Mary Jane and I love that. Mean while ,Paul Ryan kisses up to Twitler and makes an ass of himself as he plays to the big interest groups. I say, we have a most corrupt government on our hands. It was bound to happen because folks were too lazy to read and listen to the media that was telling the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gerard oosterman Says:

    Salvia is very popular in Australia, Ivonne. Many grow different varieties in their gardens. I don’t think people even know that it can give a high when smoked in a dried, and therefore very concentrated form. We grow several varieties but never smoke or eat it.

    Marihuana and Salvia even though related are different plants. I was surprised to read that in some states of the US it is not lawful to grow salvia.

    I get high on pumpkin soup. It is a good high.

    The world would be a better place if pumpkin was obligatory eating at least once a week. We all know that sugar gives a very unhealthy high, especially to young people.

    It is highly addictive and mood changing. Kids are now getting the stuff squirted in their mouths as babies. The slightest howl and mum uncaps a tube of sugar (disguised as a health food) and squirts it into the baby. Baby stops fussing/meckering but soon learns to get the next sugar-hit and howls again. This in turn upsets the mum who pacifies herself with creamy milk chocolates while looking at commercial TV 7 where all sorts of evil poisons and potions are advertised, continuing the vicious cycle of sugar addiction.

    I do hope that Korea becomes united again. I have watched when sometimes the relatives of this divided nation are allowed to meet up across the borders. It is such a heart wrenching scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. bkpyett Says:

    Yes, Gerard, pumpkins will save the world. What wonderful vegetables they are! I had my first baked pumpkin with the skin on in the 60s.Still like to cut it though as i do like sweetness of the well cooked orange bits. Good luck with politics, I have given up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Barbara,
      Thank goodness for the availability of pumpkin. We don’t fear it like we are in fear of so much now.

      Politics is the art of installing fear. Of course turning fear into panic is the real aim of our Politicians.

      To stack the fire, to find the kindle and hardwood lumps, the bucket of kero to set the whole thing off. The catchwords sprinkled about generously. Boats, Refugees, Drugs, Blacks, Kids, Invasion.

      The people that get damaged, and the result? A damaged country.


  11. Andrew Says:

    Nothing can beat a good thick creamy pumpkin soup. One of life’s treats. Never smoked a salvia though. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Pumpkin is lovely, either baked or made into pie, soup. Did you know they have pumpkin baking competitions at Rural agricultural shows? They also have shows who can grow the biggest pumpkins. They carry giant pumpkins on the back of trailers, all roped down and guarded by large dogs. Things can get pretty harrowing when it comes to pumpkins.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Yes, indeed!
    I think pumpkins could save the world! I think your pumpkin soup could unite those two men.
    And in the meantime pumpkins are wonderful to grow, share, cook, share the cooking, etc! Pumpkins make so many good recipes/dishes! 🙂 I grew some by accident one year! 🙂
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. bkpyett Says:

    You’re right about the damaged country, Gerard. Until we find compassion, there’s little hope. I send a big pumpkin hug to you and Helvi! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you , Barbara.

      We should ask more questions of our politicians. Why do they seem to relish and invoke fear?
      The statistics on violence overwhelmingly point out the horrors of domestic violence and that the fear of being invaded by Islam or refugees is nonsense.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. rangewriter Says:

    It will indeed be interesting to see what our two big-headed children will come up with in Singapore. I think they should challenge each other to a good old-fashioned leg-wrestling session. Wouldn’t that be a sight to behold? Maybe the winner could wear a pumpkin for a crown.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. auntyuta Says:

    In the past I never used a lot of spices in pumpkin soup. In future I should really try out some of the things you use in your soup, Gerard. And I also want to try baking the pumpkin with the skin left on before using it in soup. I can imagine that the baking gives the soup more flavour. Thanks for the recipe, Gerard! I have to go out and get some pumpkin.
    I have indeed always liked to serve this soup with dollops of sour cream and crusty sour-dough bread. To my mind it is essential to at least serve the soup with some sour cream and if crusty sour-dough bread is available, so much so better. 🙂

    I suspect the American establishment would expect Kim Jong Un to agree to everything that Trump may propose, including that they can leave all their military equipment in South Korea, and in case of unification they would like to spread it even to North Korea close to the Chinese border. How would that make the Chinese feel!!

    The Chinese are probably urging Kim Jong Un not to agree to all this. That there are going to be some talks in Singapore, is really great. But I very much doubt that they’ll be able to agree on a lot of things. Very sad: 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Spices is something one is always learning about, Uta. Turmeric is one of them. It is claimed to have beneficial qualities.

      Peeling a pumpkin is very dangerous. I will leave it on from now on. I treasure my fingers!

      I think Kim Jung on has an advantage in that South Korea wants to get the conflict over and if they unite and agree, the US and its over twenty thousand troops have no reason to remain in the South.

      I also think that North Korea is more friendly disposed to China than to the US who have their armies just about everywhere AND who have used atomic weapons on civilians in the past.
      With an unstable Trump at the helm, I fear him more than Kim Jung.

      The US is quickly losing their economic and political prime position in the world, and this, history teaches us, is inevitable. This decline needs cool and stable leadership.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. shoreacres Says:

    I’ve never used pumpkin for soup — butternut squash is my soup of choice. But pumpkin bread, pumpkin scones, pumpkin empanadas, and pumpkin pie? Oh, yes! And pumpkin in a sautee of winter veggies too, of course. I only recently learned about the trick of baking one whole, and it seems a wonderful idea, if only for the safety benefits. Trying to cut up a whole. pumpkin can be a bit of a chore.

    We have different varieties of pumpkin here, too. There’s a so-called pie pumpkin that’s much smaller and naturally sweeter. It’s truly a delight. I use it most of the time, since I haven’t the inclination to cook large ones and freeze the pulp I don’t immediately use.

    Have you read Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet? One of his characters, an English author named Pursewarden, provides critiques of English life that are mordant and funny. I think you’d like him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We put butternut squash under the pumpkin label, Linda. Here too are many varieties. In my latest effort I used the Kent pumpkin which is the green and gold speckled variety.

      In the past I kind of had the pumpkin low on my list of ‘deliciously’ tasting food. Very unjust, I repent and will give and do honour to this very nice, and versatile vegetable from now on. In my pumpkin soup I have no hesitation in using another much misaligned vegetable, the potato. This combo soup with the herbs and spices is sublime.

      The Durrell’s ‘Alexandria Quartet’ sound familiar especially when you mentioned the name of Pursewarden. I’ll look it up on the internet.

      Liked by 1 person

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