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Frost on the Pumpkin Tea Party

Last week I had the opportunity to join 25 wonderful ladies at The Mount Continuing Care Community to host a Frost on the Pumpkin tea party, and we all delighted in sharing our thoughts about pumpkins!

[caption id="attachment_2629" align="aligncenter" width="600"]My little pumpkin creations! My little pumpkin creations![/caption]

Here are a few facts about that big (or in this case rather little!) round gourd:

The word pumpkin originates from the Greek word pepon, meaning large melon. The French adapted this word to pompon; the English to pumpion and finally the American colonists changed it to the word we hear today, pumpkin. Of the seven continents, only Antarctica is unable to produce pumpkins!

The record for the world's heaviest pumpkin is in Switzerland - a pumpkin weighing 953.5 kilograms (2,102lb). This was very hard to believe for all of us!

Throughout Britain and Ireland, there is a long tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables, particularly the turnip. The practice of carving pumpkins for Halloween originated from an Irish myth about a man named Stingy Jack who carved vegetables to be used as lanterns, thus called jack-o'-lanterns as far back as 1837.

Here's a fun rhyme with a riddle which brought chuckles from my tea companions:

One day I found two pumpkin seeds. I planted one and pulled the weeds.


It sprouted roots and a big, long vine. A pumpkin grew; I called it mine.


The pumpkin was quite round and fat. (I really am quite proud of that.)


But there is something I'll admit that has me worried just a bit.


I ate the other seed, you see. Now will it grow inside of me?


(I'm so relieved since I have found that pumpkins only grow in the ground!)


 

[caption id="attachment_2630" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Having a grand time at the Mount! Having a grand time at the Mount![/caption]

At The Mount, it was a festive harvest tea time.The 5 volunteers helped me set the tables with cute pumpkin centrepieces topped with dried flowers from Red Roots Flower Farm. I thoroughly enjoyed making these little ornaments!

[caption id="attachment_2633" align="aligncenter" width="600"]My little pumpkin centrepieces My little pumpkin centrepieces[/caption]

As the tea was poured, several ladies shared the ways they used pumpkins over the years. One made preserves, another pumpkin loaves, and of course the pumpkin pie was made in most households. I brought two treats for everyone. One was a sentimental treat that I have made every fall for for years and years - a soft pumpkin cookie with dates and a white glaze on top which was 'the frost on the pumpkin.' I bought a pie pumpkin at the market from Heart Beet Organics Farm to make these scrumptious morsels. The recipe is called Pennsylvania Dutch Pumpkin Cookies and I am happy to share it with you below:

Cream: 1/4 cup butter, 3/4 cup shortening and 1 cup white sugar


Beat in: 1 egg, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 cup pureed pumpkin


Stir in: 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. cinnamon


Add: 1 cup chopped dates


Drop in mounds on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Makes 3 dozen. When cooled, spread with the following icing:


Boil 2 minutes: 3 tbsp. butter, 1/4 cup milk, 1 cup brown sugar stirring constantly.


Remove from heat and add: 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. icing sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla


 

[caption id="attachment_2632" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Tasty Treats I baked for our afternoon tea Tasty Treats I baked for our afternoon tea[/caption]

The second treat was my Pumpkin Spice Tea. I was a little hesitant to brew this tea thinking that seniors wouldn't be fond of flavoured teas which have become so popular in this generation. I prepared Ceylon orange pekoe as well but to my surprise, most of the ladies felt quite adventurous and tried the pumpkin spice which I sell mostly as a hot foamy latte at the Farmers' Market. There were smiles as cups refilled with the golden spicy libation.

[caption id="attachment_2631" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Afternoon tea at the Mount Afternoon tea at the Mount[/caption]

Time for a second poem to recite - this one a bit reflective and sweet -

Theme in Yellow by Carl Sandburg


I spot the hills with yellow balls in autumn.


I light the prairie cornfields orange and tawny gold clusters


And I am called pumpkins. On the last of October


When dusk is fallen children join hands


And circle round me singing ghost songs


And love to the harvest moon; I am a jack-o'-lantern


With terrible teeth and the children know


I am fooling.


Pumpkins personified, pumpkins shining, pumpkins eaten; pumpkins sitting on tables crowned with flowers; pumpkins topped with frost; pumpkins part of a bountiful harvest giving good reason to celebrate with people rich in experience and memories of chilly October days.

[caption id="attachment_2634" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Had lots of fun with these ladies at The Mount Continuing Care Community! Had lots of fun with these ladies at The Mount Continuing Care Community![/caption]

Happy Autumn days everyone and oh, Happy Hallowe'en! Share tea time with those who make you smile! I sure did!
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