Thursday, November 1, 2012

Squish Squash

 So Halloween has gone and I had no tricker treaters last eve.  I had promised three neighborhood kids who came last year that I would be prepared this time, but the rain probably got in their way and they didn't show up. 

 Luckily for the French celebration of Toussaint which is November 1st, Halloween "trick or treating" has not taken hold in France.   I say " luckily" because the day of Toussaint has long been held as a day to honor the ancestors and to visit the graveyard with the family.  I think any family celebration is a good thing and not to be undermined by the silly commercialism of Halloween.

 Since we have been in Nice though, Halloween decorations are appearing more and more in shop windows and there are more children's costume parties being held then ever before.  It seems to be sneaking up on the French.

The idea of Halloween puts me in mind of Jack-o-Lanterns and pumpkin.     Here in France we don't have all of the same varieties of squash as we have in America.  Over here we have the Potiron or Fairytale pumpkin but not our familiar carving pumpkin.

French Potiron 

 The French name of this squash is "Musquee de Provence." This FRench version of pumpkin is the one we think of for Cinderella's carriage.  Each rib makes a deep convolution and it is easy to cut in slices. 
The Fairytale Potiron is thick, tender, and the deep orange flesh is very flavored, sweet and firm.    To cultivate, it is  a 115 to 125 day pumpkin that takes a long time to turn it's cheddar color.   Its coach-like shape and color make it fine for decorating but not so fine for Jack-o-lantern carving.  
The potiron is usually used for baking but I use it by cutting it into chunks and steaming it and mixing it with a cooked yam to get a better texture.   It makes a great winter side dish.
Here are some pics I took in Eugene, Oregon while visiting with my family 

American Halloween Pumpkin Squash

Carnival Squash

Buttercup squash

Turban Squash

Corn on the cob

And then there is corn on the cob, an American tradition almost never found in French markets.  And when it is found, it is not "fresh picked" still in the husks.  What a shame that the vendors don't realize how much enjoyment is lost when the kernels are exposed.  If it isn't fresh picked that day , its too old.  Any American can tell you that. 

Ornamental Gourds

Ornamental gourds are just that, not edible but pretty in all their variation.  Middle class Americans are fond of decorating their houses or even their porches with Autumn bounty.  We did it even before Martha Stewart came around.  Don't ask me why except that we can't help it. Everything is just so gorgeous at this time of year.

Thistle Down Farms near Eugene Oregon

Friends of Thistledown

Another resident of Thistledown

No comments:

Post a Comment