The frog and the pumpkin … a Halloween tale …

The frog and the pumpkin … For about 15 years now the shopkeepers here in France have unsuccessfully tried to get the French to celebrate Halloween. Store windows were decorated with pumpkins and witches and goblins, but no-can-do, Halloween has not taken on. The Catholic Church here also warned that it was a pagan celebration, […]


The frog and the pumpkin …

For about 15 years now the shopkeepers here in France have unsuccessfully tried to get the French to celebrate Halloween. Store windows were decorated with pumpkins and witches and goblins, but no-can-do, Halloween has not taken on. The Catholic Church here also warned that it was a pagan celebration, and oh just dare glorifying evil and you will find out all about evil in Hell one day.

But not that the Catholic Church’s views have anything to do with why Halloween has failed to take on here in France.

One reason is that the French look on Halloween as something else that the Americans want to impose on us – like war in Vietnam or Irak or Bosnia … and so on …

But the main reason is that November 1 is All Saints Day and November 2, the Day of the Departed, and both are solemn days of remembering those we had loved and known but who are no longer with us in our Zone. (I am not going to explain what I mean by ‘Zone’ because this blog entry is not about my views of life and death, but you might call it ‘Heaven’.)

So, because of these two days of remembrance, to dress up as a witch or a vampire and to knock on people’s front doors to shout ‘trick or treat!’ seems greatly out of place.

Must just say fyi that France is a non-religious State but is mainly Christian. To be exact, 85% of the French are Catholic, 8% Muslim, 2% Protestant, 1% Jewish and the rest are Buddhists, Hindus or non-believers.

The pumpkin however does have its moment of glory this time of the year. They are to be seen in all our greengrocers and supermarkets, and one can either buy a whole one or just a thick slice of it. And our restaurants have pumpkin soup and pumpkin pies on their menus.

So, because it’s Halloween and All Saints Day and the Day of the Departed, I’m speaking now of pumpkins, and here is how a French country bumpkin cooks a pumpkin soup.

For 6 people – 30 min preparation and 15 min of cooking.

You will need :
2 kilos of pumpkin
3 cl of olive oil
1 dl of chicken broth
4 shallots
25 cl of fresh cream
70 gr of butter
Some garlic, salt and pepper

And this is what to do :

Cut up the garlic and shallots. Peel the pumpkin and cut into small cubes. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the shallots and fry for 3 mins. Add the pumpkin and the garlic and cook for another 5 mins before adding the chicken broth, the salt and the pepper. Let this boil for 15 mins and then you add the cream and the butter. If the soup is still a little lumpy, put it through the mixer.

Eat it with lots of French bread …

I am not a cordon bleu chef, so if the above tastes really horrible, blame me, I won’t mind.

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

5 Responses to “The frog and the pumpkin … a Halloween tale …”

  1. 5
    Marilyn Z. Tomlins Says:

    Satima, Thank you very much for the explanation.

  2. 4
    Satima Flavell Says:

    Hallowee'n, of course, is actually the e'en (evening) before All Hallows Day, which was a day of remembrance among the Celts long before the Christians kidnapped the festival and turned in into All Saints Day (Nov 1) and All Soul's Day (Nov 2). They all celebrate the same thing, but these days the ghoulish aspects of the afterlife have the spotlight rather than the remembrance of departed loved ones. But there's no reason we can't do both!

  3. 3
    Marilyn Z. Tomlins Says:

    Jo, We also have November 11 for the war dead, but November 2 has nothing to do with that.

    Only new blog entries can now have comments. I don't understand what'd going on, but I know that I did not make any changes, they just happened.

    Those were only the names of the fish that I could remember, so you can tell Matt that there are still others. My fishmonger has scallops too every day, and shrimps and prawns and lobsters and mussels. I can eat a different fish every day for about 3 weeks.

  4. 2
    Jo Says:

    Although I could comment on your Pumpkin blog I still can't comment on the fish blog.

    Matt was staggered at the variety of fish in your fishmonger as listed by you. You would rarely, if ever, see such a variety in North America.

  5. 1
    Jo Says:

    OK, comments working.

    In North America, All Saints Day isn't noticed very much, except possibly by the church. Our day of Remembrance is November 11.

    I prefer my pumpkin soup recipe I think.

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