It seems that every little girl must be a cat at least once for Halloween and yesterday morning when mine scampered out of her bed and into ours the first thing she said was, “meow.”
When asked what she wanted for breakfast, she said a bowl of milk to lap up, so that’s what she got with a little granola added at the end.
We had a mellow Halloween this year, which was fine by me. O seemed pretty pleased with the day herself. After getting purple and pink whiskers and a cat nose painted on her face, I don’t think she needed anything else to be happy. She came home from a full day of school with a bag stuffed with treats, so we decided to skip trick-or-treating, mostly because attempting to do so with a not quite 3 year old who hasn’t napped seemed like asking for disaster. Instead, we sorted her bag of candy and toys, ate a bowl of pumpkin soup for dinner and filled the tub with plastic spiders for a spooky bath.
This week has absolutely flown by. I suppose that’s how the next two months will go too, now that the holiday season has officially begun. For me, this week was the usual blur of work+kid+life plus some residual, happy exhaustion from a quick weekend trip up to Seattle for a friend’s birthday.
Imagine three women on a boat with a few bottles of wine, three women who have been best friends since grade school but don’t get to see each other often, three woman who have jobs and kids and generally exhausting lives but suddenly had 24 hours to do nothing but relax and eat and laugh and talk and talk and talk. I think we sucked all the air out of Eagle Harbor.
It was a perfect Seattle weekend. Autumn foliage in full affect, rain interspersed with sun, cold enough to require pea coats and scarves but not that crazy damp chill that goes right down to your bones.
Twelve years ago I moved from Seattle. Twelve years! How did that happen? All these years I’ve held on to this feeling that I’ve just left and I’ll soon return, but on this trip I had to face that neither is true. I might return one day, but not soon. And if I do, what will it feel like to live there again? Will it feel like home? It’s been twelve years. I feel a little bit like a visitor now when I’m there. My life is so different today than it was when I left.
What is it exactly that I miss about Seattle? The feeling of the place. The people. Turning in a circle and seeing layers of mountains and water on all sides. I miss the colors: blue and purple and green and gray.
I miss the coffee, which is really good but a normal part of life, not a pretentious affectation (Ahem. I’m talking to you Handsome Coffee Roasters and Intelligentsia). And I miss the food. Especially the bakeries. Oh, the bakeries!
As we get older, it seems that the definition of home gets more complicated. At this moment in my life, home is wherever my husband and daughter are. They are home to me. But I can’t just forget the other places I’ve called home in my life. What about the town I grew up in, the place where all my childhood memories are rooted? What about Seattle, where I lived in my twenties and finished growing up? What about New York, a city where I met my husband and immediately felt at home?
I always thought of home as one specific place, but now I realize that as you get older it can be many places at once. I guess a lot of us live with a gentle tugging in our chest, pulling us back to places we miss.
This recipe is adapted from a recipe for the pumpkin soup that I had at a Thriftway grocery store while up in Seattle. Soup, at a grocery store! And it was delicious.
I generally don’t like thick soup, so I thin this out with more stock and water (instead of 1/2 and 1/2) than the original recipe calls for. I like to serve this pumpkin soup as a side, instead of as a main course. A cup of this creamy soup is delicious next to kale salad and/or a juicy pork chop. The gentle, slightly sweet pumpkin flavor is really kid friendly. To my own bowl, I like to add a spicy drizzle of Sriracha hot sauce.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated or finely chopped ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 tsp ground coriander
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tablespoon brown sugar
15 ounce can (1 1/2 cups) canned pumpkin
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
Saute onion and ginger in olive oil over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Add turmeric and coriander and saute a minute more then whisk in the stock, brown sugar and pumpkin. Simmer rapidly for 5 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the evaporated milk. Simmer 5 minutes.
Use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the soup until silky-smooth. Return to the pot and then adjust the consistency as desired. I add 1 to 2 cups of water to thin it out; as I said above, I don’t like super-thick soup. I then add some salt and pepper to punch up the flavor.