Have you ever heard the phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? I’m sure you have! This common phrase reminds people to have a positive attitude in the face of adversity, by making the best of a bad situation. It’s great advice!
Well, Mr. Tako has a different version of this ancient phrase that’s just as useful: “When life gives you pumpkins, make pumpkin soup!”
My version has an entirely different meaning too: Make use of life’s abundance even when it goes unappreciated by others.
What is it about this time of year that brings out the pumpkin craziness in everyone?
Every year when the calendar ticks over to October, pumpkins suddenly start popping up everywhere! Jack-o-lanterns, Pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies….see a theme here yet?
Around this time of year pumpkins get put into everything! According to Wikipedia, the United States produces 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins every year.
I love it when food is seasonal and the Earth’s bounty is put to good use. Pumpkins are plentiful and cheap this time of year….but the strange thing is: Nobody actually cooks with pumpkin anymore. They would rather buy a pumpkin-spice latte at Starbucks, or purchase a pumpkin pie from Costco.
If you find someone who actually still makes homemade pumpkin pie, they typically use blended pumpkin from a can. I shit you not. It’s shameful.
To make matters worse, there’s one more thing irks me to no end: Pumpkins are so plentiful and cheap that people literally set them outside as decorations and let them rot. Yes, intentional food waste!
Perfectly good food is placed outside on purpose, let rot, and later thrown in the trash bin a month later. Talk about a waste!
Mr. Tako’s Stolen Pumpkin Thai Curry Soup
Today we’re going to use some of that annual pumpkin bounty, and make Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup!
In protest of my neighbor’s disgusting annual waste of wealth and resources, I decided to swipe a pumpkin from his yard and use it for my blog post. He was just going to chuck them into the trash-bin anyway.
Seriously, the guy has over 30 pumpkins in his yard. I couldn’t even fit them all the photo. Odds are, he won’t even notice one missing…
After collecting our pumpkin, the first thing we need to do is break-it-down with a sharp knife. I use my 8″ Shun Chef Knife to break it down into 2-inch chunks. At the same time, remove the seed and tough outer skin.
Every pumpkin is going to be a different size, but generally they weigh around 5-10 pounds. This recipe uses half of a large pumpkin.
Oh, and remember to be careful with that large knife when breaking it down. Pumpkins can be incredibly tough on the outside.
Next, find a large soup pot, and saute the following:
- 1 large diced onion
- 1 Tablespoon of minced ginger
- 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon of sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons of butter
Saute the ingredients until the onions soften.
Then, add the ill-gotten pumpkin chunks into the pot, and pour in chicken stock (or vegetable stock) until it just reaches the top of the pumpkin.
At this point, the pumpkin should be very soft. Turn off the heat and add the following:
- Half a cup of coconut milk. I typically use a canned version.
- 1-2 Tablespoons of fish sauce (to your preference)
- 2 Tablespoons of Red Thai Curry paste. I like the stuff that comes in small cans. This brand is the best.
The idea here is to produce a soup that’s smooth and free of large chunks.
That’s it! You’re done! Simple, easy, cheap, and delicious! I usually pair the soup with Thai Basil for a garnish, and drizzle with some of the remaining coconut milk.
Serves about 6 people. Cook time is approximately 45 minutes.
The total cost is less than $5, and even cheaper if you have access to ….ahem….”free” pumpkins.
A Small Confession
OK, so if you haven’t guessed already, I didn’t ACTUALLY steal a pumpkin from my neighbor. I confess to making that part up. I wanted to shock everyone into paying attention. Did you think I was a pumpkin thief?
Only kidding! Don’t actually steal a pumpkin from your neighbor.
Our pumpkins came to us free from Grandma Tako’s garden. She grows pumpkins every year, and inevitably we end up with several.
All joking about pumpkin thievery aside, I want people to realize just how much of our enormous wealth is wasted. Imagine for a moment if a fraction of those pumpkins piled-up outside the grocery store were actually put to use feeding people…. The world would be a far wealthier and less hungry place.
The point is, make good use of whatever is plentiful in your life. Everyone has access to different kinds of the world’s resources. At times, they will be extremely plentiful. Don’t waste the windfall. If life gives you 10 pounds of tomatoes, then make a big-assed batch of Mr. Tako’s salsa.
So yes, go right ahead and buy a pumpkin for whatever ridiculously low price they’re selling at….but don’t just let it rot in the front yard. Put it to good use. Make pumpkin soup!