Thursday, October 31, 2013

*Pumpkin Soup, Anyone?

One Halloween, many, many Octobers ago, our large, boisterous family was getting into costumes and putting on makeup.  We had to eat dinner before we could go Trick or Treating, and the eight kids were in a hurry to get that little task out of the way.  I couldn't wait to see what Mom would come up with; that woman is so creative!

The yellow laminate counter was covered with ten place settings. We all jockeyed into position on our assigned barstools, and waited to say the blessing.  Mom had made darling open-faced sandwiches using a Halloween theme...owls had beaks and big round eyes...there were witch's hats and bats made from bologna.  And she'd really outdone herself; there was a very large cauldron pot of pumpkin soup.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love me some pumpkin anything. I like the cookies, the breads, the puddings, the pies...any dessert, basically, made of pumpkin.  But pumpkin SOUP?  I was suspicious.

The sandwiches were yummy, and pretty cute.  I took a tentative sip of soup from my spoon.  Oh. My. Word.  It was really, really bad.  I tried to take a little more.  I knew the rules.  We had to try a little of everything, we had to be polite, and we could not complain about anything that was served.

There was a deathly silence around the dinner table that night. Occasionally, someone would shift on a barstool and the wooden legs would squeak on the linoleum floor. The sounds of spoons clinking against the Corelle bowls, and an occasional clearing of a throat were the only other sounds. Keeping eight noisy youngsters quiet on Halloween was no small feat. No one dared look up and make eye contact with anyone else for fear of making a face that could be interpreted as disapproving. We all knew the iron-clad rule at the table:  If you complain about what is served, you'll have twice as much to eat of it.

Downcast eyes, and silent stares circled the table that night.  The soup had an unusual flavor.  I like pumpkin, but perhaps because I was expecting cinnamon and sugar to accompany the flavor, I was very disappointed. Cool Whip would NOT help this dish!  I suppose it was savory, but I found it so unappetizing.  Honestly?  It tasted the way the rotten food in our pig pot on the back porch smelled.  I played with my sandwich, wishing the nasty contents of my bowl would disappear.

Finally, Mom loudly announced, "Oh, this soup is just horrible. You can dump your soup bowls into the pig pot." There was a great scraping of barstools on the kitchen floor as we all cleared out of the room out the back door.  There was nervous laughter, and great sighs of relief. There was no way we could have consumed that pumpkin soup; it was so disgusting.

The Halloween of the Pumpkin Soup is a legend that has been passed down to the next generation.  All of the grandkids know about it.  All anyone has to say at a family gathering is "Remember the Pumpkin Soup?" and the room dissolves into laughter.  

Lately, I have to admit to having my curiosity piqued by autumn recipes that call for squash and pumpkin in soups.  Bricklie has made the yummiest Butternut Squash Soup, and my sister Kathy and her daughter-in-law Ashley have had some success with trying a recipe they really liked. I'm tempted; I'm so tempted.

Today I satisfied my creative urges with pumpkin by carving. Perhaps this week, I'll give a pumpkin soup recipe a try. Who knows?  Maybe it will even be good.  I'm always looking for new experiences. Even giving an old awful experience one more try. I hope I'll be delightfully surprised.

Here's the recipe my sister's daughter-in-law tried.  I'll offer it here, so I can find it later!
Pumpkin Soup from German Recipes and More.  Kürbissuppe is what they called it!


  1. I first had pumpkin soup as an exchange student in Australia. I love it, but I have had some terrible pumpkin soup. If you make it, make sure you use a cooking pumpkin and not one designed to be carved into a jack-o'-lantern. There is a difference, and it matters. I can send you my favorite recipe if you'd like.

    1. That would be wonderful, and I do think Mom used an extra Halloween pumpkin from the garden. Good info to have!!!

  2. Oh, this really IS the stuff of family legend! And we had that same double-portions rule when I was a kid.

    1. These days I love butternut squash soup, and I am almost brave enough to try pumpkin soup again. I am not sure why mom’s was not tasty, but maybe she used a jack o’lantern instead of a cooking pumpkin.


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