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  • Writer's pictureLaura McBride

Pumpkin: Better with booze


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There are only two kinds of people in the world: pumpkin haters and pumpkin lovers. I am of the latter.

But it occurred to me, when I saw a food article this morning in Irish Central, that there might be a way to turn pumpkin haters into pumpkin lovers, at least in some small degree. Booze!

My brother's mother-in-law has used that method to get people interested in her sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. She cooks and mashes the sweet potatoes, then whips them up with lots of fall spices, brown sugar, butter....and bourbon. Lots and lots of bourbon. Indeed, at one gathering when she asked my brother if he'd like another helping, he said, “Sure, I'll take a Fifth,” and hiccuped like the late in-his-cups comedian, Foster Brooks.

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For the uninitiated, a Fifth refers to the size of a bottle of liquor in the US. It also leads to the old joke, based on a line in the Episcopal service about the presence of the holy, “When three or four Episcopalians are gathered together....there must also be a Fifth.” Episcopalians, it seems, have the reputation among US Protestants of being more kindly disposed to booze than are other denominations. As an Episcopalian myself, I wouldn't disagree.

I've had all sorts of pumpkin-y things, being a true pumpkin afficionado, much like Mma Ramotswe in Alexander McCall Smith's magical series set in Botswana, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. I'm just hoping my love of pumpkin won't soon push me into the same category as Precious Ramotswe, a lady who is “traditionally built.”

Fortunately, living in the UK puts me out of reach of the worst of the cravings; pumpkin pies are not nearly as big a holiday treat here as in the US. Contending with the odd serving of Christmas pudding is much easier, and besides, setting the puddings ablaze before serving burns off some of the calories from all that butter and dried fruit.

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Or so I shall continue to tell myself.

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