Almost a year ago, I wrote a real tear-jerker about our difficulties in trying to find a suitable pumpkin for Halloween in the Greater Daglan Area. (There’s early talk about the story becoming a major motion picture, which would star Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.)
I called my tale “Meet Jack, the Blue Hungarian,” and posted it on October 30, 2012.
Why the Blue Hungarian? Because instead of buying an actual pumpkin, or citrouille in French — which I wanted to carve into a jack-o’-lantern — my wife Jan and I got stuck with a Potiron Bleu de Hongrie, or Blue Hungarian squash. (Oh, the humanity!) Here it is, shown next to a red cabbage to give you a sense of its size:
Well, time marches on, and one learns from one’s mistakes. A year ago, we had spotted a nice pumpkin patch not too far away from Daglan, but by the time we visited it to buy our pumpkin, the entire crop had been harvested. That’s why we wound up, eventually, with a substitute.
This year, we wanted to move much more quickly. So a couple of Saturdays ago, we headed to the same farm — where the garden was still loaded with large orange pumpkins. There was a family gathering taking place in the yard behind the house, and we were nervous about interrupting the party, but then the farmer himself appeared and asked if he could help.
We explained that we’re Canadian, and so Halloween is kind of a big deal for us, and that we’d like to buy a pumpkin to make into a jack-o’-lantern. As he walked us toward his pumpkin patch, he said he understood, because Halloween is slowly becoming a bigger celebration in France too.
It didn’t take us long to choose one of the bigger ones. When we asked the price, he said we could have it for nothing. However, under the constitution of Canada (Article 3, “Be nice.”), we were duty-bound to pay something, and so we gave him five euros and came away with this beauty:
Carving it had its rough moments, because French pumpkins seem to be from a different stock than North American pumpkins: The flesh is much thicker, so there’s a lot more scraping to be done to create the hollow inside. As well, cutting through the thick pumpkin flesh to create the mandatory scary face was harder work.
Nevertheless, we think it turned out fine. And here it is:
So we are virtually set for Halloween — once we buy usual supply of candies. Bring it on!