Friday, December 21, 2012

Baking and Books: Pumpkin Bread

I always laughed when on television, characters boasted about how they had a "______" guy, someone who could always obtain things for them.  The character Barney on How I Met Your Mother has a suit guy, a club guy, and even a guy guy, someone to find him new guys.  Well, amusingly, my husband and I now have a pumpkin guy!  There's a lovely farmer's market in town, and now that we're on break, we're able to get out regularly and buy our fresh produce there.  It's our favorite way to spend a Saturday morning - browse some vegetables, pick out some delicious-looking carrots or sweet potatoes, buy a cinnamon roll or donut muffin, and choose a pumpkin.  There's this farmer who sells heirloom pumpkins, the seeds for which have been in his family for generations.  These things are so thick that they would be a terrible choice for a jack-o-lantern, and are juicy like a watermelon.  We've (and by we I mean my chef husband) have turned them into pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, pumpkin ravioli, and now, pumpkin bread.

I'm a big fan of quick breads and muffins, and quite fond of pumpkin.  There's something amazing about baking from a real, live pumpkin rather than just opening up a can.  Not that I have anything against canned pumpkin!  But you get a different flavor and even a different color if you start from a pumpkin you've roasted yourself.  The pumpkin bread we had for breakfast today had a marvelously delicate flavor and a fantastic spongy texture.  As usual, he didn't use a recipe.  But I've made this pumpkin bread recipe before, and if you're craving some delicious spiced pumpkiny goodness, I can vouch for it.

I'm still reading Villette - it's a long book, and will probably take me a while!  So far, it's proven to be very different than Jane Eyre, but still enjoyable.  Lucy is a far more objective narrator than the sympathetic Jane.  I don't feel as if she's involved with the events she's recording, even when the actions taken are her own.  She seems very removed, a cold observer.  I'm interested to know whether this changes as the book goes on.  Will Lucy become a more active narrator as she relates her own story?  I'm also fascinated by Brontë's choice of title.  As the only novel not named after a character but after a place, is she trying to make this story more universal than her others?

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