Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Gourd Yourselves

The cafeteria downstairs at Leviathon, Inc. is replete with squash and pumpkin dishes perpetrating the culinary myth that if something is brightly colored and laying about in a field at the end of summer, it must be edible.

The truth is of course that pumpkins are of little use save for carving into seasonal decorations that look like lit up 19th century Austrian physicists or mashing onto roadways as impromptu ABS skidpad test tracks.

Squash are little better. The origin of their name comes from the response to cook's query of Edgar the 11th of 9th century Britain (the scratchy tartan king). "What shall I do with these legumes, Sire?" There's a clue to a food you have to hollow out and throw seeds away on. You throw the seeds out so hopefully no one gets the bright idea of planting more.

There are other foods out there. Zucchini is one. It comes from the Italian word for "truck tire." My mother, who is perhaps one of the single worst cooks in the world (recipe for most things: Boil until thoroughly dead, add mayonnaise.) kicked me off the zucchini train early on in life with a ground beef-stuffed thing that no amount of ketchup could save or worse, disguise its original resemblance to turd in a shell.

Its kind of a shell game of nature to imbue bright colors into items that can at once be either tasty treats or deathly poison. Look at oranges, lemons and bananas. Don't look at lemons too hard because their eventual value as a foodstuff had to wait for the invention of the Manhattan cocktail. In tropical climates where easy going happy natives walk hand in hand on topless beaches, bright colors tend to lead one to satifying flavors in foods picked off a tree. Now look at pumpkins, squash, those bright red mushrooms. In northern climates where keyed up overachieving locals trudge through woods, chewing on bark, leaving presents behind larger bushes, their womenfolk failing to shave appendages, bright food will either kill you outright or make you hallucinate that these unshaved womenfolk are desireable, or will fill the considerable gaps in the mensfolk teeth with orange, stringy strands of pumpkinflesh. At this point, the womenfolk will brew mushrooms in tea in hopes of halucinating some sort of desire for the knock-kneed, orange-mouthed menfolk who louse their woods in the first place.

And somewhere in the middle climes, things like peaches grow for inhabitants who, while not as completely gruesome as northerners, are nowhere near as fun as tropical folks at a pig roast mixer.

The only, only, only saving grace of the northern tribes is that at some point they spilled a basket of their more horrible harvest into a pot of boiling grain and came up with hopped Oktoberfest beer. Saving grace to get a little fuzzy around the edges as you are harvesting indigestible things from your fields. To which they added Halloween, sort of a fright primer to having to eat this crap for the rest of the winter when the beer runs out.

This year my costume with be "Credit." I'm going to go to parties and be elusive and inaccessible.

Bunny on.


Blogger KimberlyDi said...

I disagree. Pumpkins are good for pumpkin pie.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Sis said...

Thank (insert deity here) poop is brown.

10:33 PM  

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