I just love getting stuff for free.
Mind you, I’m not talking about taking advantage of people, finding any way I can to avoid paying someone a fair price for something they have made or done.
No, I’m talking pumpkin soup, today’s lunch that grew out of a desperate need to do something, anything, with 150 winter squash and pumpkins that my husband, The Norwegian Artist, and only male progeny, The Son and Heir, dumped at my feet when they were cleaning out the garden this fall. (See Awash with Squash for the full, wheelbarrow loads full, story.)
I, um, actually don’t like winter squash, but this didn’t seem to be the right time to tell them, so I smiled beatifically and murmured something about “lots of pies,” before racing to the computer to look up, “winter squash recipes.”
It was no use asking my mother, who forty years later has not forgotten my attitude toward Hubbard squash, for suggestions. There comes a limit to the number of times you can tell your mother that she was right (and progeny of mine, allow me to say that you are nowhere near this limit).
So I settled on soup. You people out there who know how to make stuff without a can opener can do this in an hour — saute some onions and celery in olive oil, add a couple cups chicken stock (mine was made the night before from a denuded rotisserie chicken) and the squash puree, then simmer the thing for 30 minutes. Puree it all, add a cup of milk, some salt, and chopped sage from the miserably cold looking perennial plant barely surviving near the front porch.
Voila! Almost free.
And one more pumpkin down. I haven’t counted lately, but there’s still a big pile.
Maybe you don’t have a mountain of squash in your studio — I haven’t met too many people who sympathize with my plight — but I’m willing to guess that you have a lot of something that you can’t figure out what to do with hanging around your place, and you would infinitely prefer to trade it in for something valuable: money, say, or influential friends in high places, or 10,000 new Facebook followers on your business page.
But life doesn’t work that way. It gives us pumpkins, lots of them, and the creativity and energy to figure out what to do with the things. And because what you have a lot of – your specific skills, interests, abilities, and passions — don’t look like what other people in your circle have a lot of, it’s tempting to underestimate those skills, interests, abilities, and passions, ultimately determining that they — and you by extension — are of little value.
Don’t give in to that. Pumpkins and winter squash are pretty impressive indeed, and entire cultures wrap their eating habits around them. They’re cheap, nutritious, easy to prepare, and — I assure you — plentiful. And if they’re what you’ve got on hand, rejoice in them and in their challenges, and show the world what you and 149 pumpkins can do.
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The article in this post was initially published at Thoughtful Women.