The Great Canned Pumpkin Shortage
Usually, by this time of year, since this is America, and we are a commercial society, you can see not only Halloween but Thanksgiving and even Christmas decorations and preparations in all the stores. You can’t even go grocery shopping without being hit over the head with witches and pilgrims and elves. Back to school is the theme a week after the kids get out for summer.
One weird exception this year: canned pumpkin. Usually, the stores are full of canned pumpkin by this time. Not only is there tons of canned pumpkin, it’s usually featured in special displays, stacked in neat pyramids on the ends of rows, next to neat pyramids of condensed milk and prepared pie shells and pumpkin pie spice.
The other day the Mr. Brewsters and I were in the Super Wal-Mart, walking down the aisle where the canned pumpkin would normally be, and there were exactly two cans of organic pumpkin. Count them. Two. Organic?! You mean we have to be healthy, and we don’t have a choice in the matter?
This is, needless to say, unacceptable. I then heard that there is a nationwide shortage of canned pumpkin due to a crop that was destroyed by too much rain in Illinois last year. Why does all the canned pumpkin come from Illinois? What are we going to do for Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas? No pumpkin pie? No pumpkin bread? No pumpkin cake? No pumpkin bars or pumpkin cookies or pumpkin cheesecake or pumpkin fudge? I’m forgetting something.
Now, technically, we could use fresh pumpkin. Theoretically, this is possible. But have you ever tried to use fresh pumpkin for baking? In one of my Martha Stewart epileptic fits, in my younger days, when I cared about such nonsense, I decided to carve a pumpkin, pull out the pumpkin and use it for baking, remove the pumpkin seeds and roast them. My roommate had a three-year-old girl, and it seemed like a worthwhile pursuit. Yeah, not so much.
Actually, this labor of love took hours, made a mess out of me, a little girl, and our entire kitchen, and didn’t really produce the rapturous response I was expecting from my young friend. After the face carving stuff was over, it was all over for her. Her mother and I ate the pumpkin seeds. I saved the fresh pumpkin and stored it in the freezer to bake with it later. Oh, yeah. I remember now what I’m forgetting: pumpkin muffins. The pumpkin muffins were good, but I didn’t notice enough of a superior taste difference to warrant the work involved in gathering that stringy, pulpy mess compared to the work involved in, oh, say, turning a can opener.
So, somehow, something must be done to alleviate the canned pumpkin shortage. I propose that we trade with other English speaking nations, form a cultural alliance, if you will. I don’t think that pumpkin is as big a deal in England and Australia as it is here. We could make a deal. England, send us all your canned pumpkin that we know you’re not using, and we will, in turn, send you all our figgy pudding. Trust me. We are not eating the figgy pudding. Australia, we will send you all our vegemite in exchange for all your canned pumpkin. I think there are some English speaking nations in Africa. Most of India speaks English because the English used to occupy India. We will send you curry powder for canned pumpkin.
See? I solved the canned pumpkin crisis all by myself. If you hear something about canned pumpkin coming back into the stores, you will know who is responsible.