At 4:30 today, my husband and I settled up the idea of making a turkey-dinner-without-the-turkey for our Christmas meal. Hey, we east mostly veggie, and to be honest, the whole family could happily crawl into a barrel of my stuffing and eat our way out over the course of a week.
So I found myself in Kroger at 5 p.m. the day before Christmas Eve, which is a fool’s errand under any circumstances. Still, I found everything I needed, including duct tape (or Duck Tape, as it seems to be called these days?) for my little Bear. Until it dawned on me that maybe a turkey-dinner-without-turkey might still require a pumpkin pie.
Using my shopping cart as a batter ram (a skill I learned in German supermarkets), I jostled my way back through the store – but no canned pumpkin was to be found. Fortunately, the cashier at the register was a former student of mine, who’s still working at Kroger while he finishes school. And even more fortunately, he had answer for me.
Less fortunately, the answer was this: Kroger has been out of canned pumpkin since Thanksgiving! Something about bad weather and harvest.
Sure enough, when I consulted the google just now, I learned that heavy rains kept pumpkins from being harvested. Maybe some of them first rotted in the fields; ultimately, the ones that didn’t get picked fell victim to frost.
It is good to know I can make a pumpkin pie from butternut squash if need be. It’s probably even more salutary to be reminded that pumpkins don’t grow in cans. They grow on vines. They’re tender fruit. And when the weather and climate don’t cooperate, pumpkins are only a vague Halloween memory. I’m wishing we hadn’t left those uncarved would-be Jack-o-lanterns freeze and then liquify on our front porch.
Also, it’s sobering to realize that Libby controls virtually the whole pumpkin market.