I have always adored misshapen pumpkins most.
I have always preferred imperfection.
That’s why, when last weekend, as I watched my own two girls pick out their yearly jack-o-lantern prospects I was proud to see flattened stems and dented backsides making the cut.
Making a stunning jack-o-lantern from a homely pumpkin; a pie from its smaller, brilliant orange cousin; a charmingly set table with mismatched silverware. Sure, shiny, uniform packaging makes for an easily organized pantry, but it seems it is always the soup made of the heavy cream from a local dairy that tastes best; the tomato sauce stewed of the fruits lovingly tended to in one’s own garden that is most fragrant.
When it comes to eating local and handmade the charmingly imperfect ingredients don’t have to end at those that make up the bulk of the recipe; even during the holidays.
Over the next few weeks, I’m dedicating this column to eating handmade and homegrown during the holidays; a time that perhaps proves the most difficult for locavores and artisan food junkies alike. When tables are encircled by families and friends, ovens filled with comfort foods quantity far too often beats out quality. This year, I hope not to allow that to happen in my home or yours. Where better to begin than with dessert? Life is short, after all.
Hand ground spices, like the Pumpkin Pie blend from MisticalAcScents shown above, give homebaked pies an intense flavor you won’t find in your supermarket’s freezer section or baking aisle. Substituted in a recipe calling for whole pumpkins you can source from a local You-Pick and mixed with dairy from a local farmer — goat or cow — they make for a pie that truly earns its place at the table beside Grandma’s famous biscuits.
Do you have tips, tricks or recipes that make dedication to local or handmade foods easier during the busy holiday season? Share them in the comments below and if they fit I’ll feature them in next week’s column as we continue to talk artisan holiday fare!