Monday, October 26, 2009
Pumpkin Carving 2009
The tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables, most often turnips, originated in early 1800s in Ireland as an attempt to ward off evil spirits. Eventually the tradition made its way to America and pumpkins, with their larger surface area, inevitably took the place of turnips.
My pumpkin carving tradition began several years ago when my husband and I lived on 25th Street in an apartment with an oversized picture window and shelf, perfect to display jack-o'-lanterns to passersby. Over the years it has evolved into a gathering where food is central, and a friendly carving competition is more of an afterthought. This year's get-together was accompanied by an overabundance of fat filled treats and yielded five very different jack-o'-lanterns.
Sweets included a cherry-almond tart, gingerbread chocolate cake, pumpkin cookies with brown butter icing, gingerbread cookies, and crostini with ricotta, figs and honey
There were also a variety of cheeses, vegetable pizza, a taco inspired salad with corn chips, and vegetables with a multitude of bean dips
My husband handed off judging duties to our friend Garth- who will forever be known as the Simon Cowell of pumpkin carving competitions
Jennie's traditional style pumpkin took home top honors
Peggy's four seasons pumpkin radiated images from all sides when lit and was awarded "Most Boo-tiful"
Gina's marathon themed pumpkin puzzled the judge who deemed it unworthy of any award
My pumpkin, which I thought would win me another 1st place ribbon, took home the award for "Most Creative"
Sarah tried to save her pumpkin with toothpicks when careless carving skills caused her to lose more surface area than anticipated, but the unforgiving judge awarded her "Dead Last" for failed efforts