Dispatch From The Mundane 013
Pumpkin And Persimmon Soup
You will need:
2 lbs of pumpkin chopped pumpkin or squash of your choice
2-12 cloves of garlic
3 cups of vegetable stock
1 half of coconut milk (add more or use heavy cream if desired)
2 teaspoons curry powder
3 teaspoons smoked paprika
Yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche to top
(I used coconut yogurt)
1 handful chopped cilantro
Pomegranate molasses — if you don’t have this I would squeeze a bit of lime juice and add a teaspoon of sugar to the soup.
Optional: 1 cup of cooked lentils
Optional: hot peppers (I used habanero but jalapeno or poblano work too)
I've had a gut-wrenching and heartbreaking day. I'll be fr fr if the skin could unzip. There are times when I think liberation would be if we were all just like the sun except not trapped in the skin. I'm just a bright light, and one day, I'll burst and become a void. I don't have to be productive because I'm a light, and I shine, and that's enough. I can nurture. I can kill. My body was in bed mulching, and my spirit had bought Amtrak tickets to New York City to go to the Dia Beacon.
I suspect tomorrow it'll get a bowl of fresh noodles in Flushing. Maybe someone will find my soul screaming Sheryl Crow at karaoke at Heaven or Las Vegas and join in because it does make them happy. I'm not sure when it'll return, but I hope it'll bring me a souvenir or two.
Let's start with something warm. If you make this soup and you’ve got some tweaks- let me know! I didn’t really measure as I made it and it’s the sorta soup that you could make and “mess up” and still eat. I made this pumpkin persimmon soup. It's warm. It's got a lingering sweetness that makes you a bit wanton from the fruit and gourd union. I roasted the ingredients on two different sheets - roast pumpkin, roast leeks/garlic/a thumb of ginger/ habaneros persimmons. I know some people peel the persimmons! I did not because I am lazy and often shield myself by saying there are nutrients in the skin, but sometimes I don't want to peel anything. I eat apple cores because sometimes I'm in bed, and I don't want to get up and throw them away.
Each veggie sheets get a few tablespoons of oil. On the pumpkin, I sprinkle a tiny bit of salt and pepper. I used the broiler to get everything roasted. 15 or so minutes until the pumpkin is soft.
I added them to a pot with about 3 cups of vegetable stock, smoked paprika, and optional two teaspoons of curry powder. I cooked them down until soft. When I didn't have an immersion blender, I would mash everything with a potato masher until it was smoother than it began. My cooking practice isn't married to perfection.
I didn't use very much curry powder, just enough for the musk. I also added the curry powder after the soup finished because it's pretty good on its own. It's simple but with a bit of pomegranate molasses, more paprika & a cream topping of your choice-- it's heartwarming. I have grown into food that isn't overly spicy. I love the sweetness from the persimmons in my mouth. The bright and tart of the molasses. The smooth contribution of coconut. A little musk, particularly fenugreek and cumin in the curry, is what I was after. Mostly for grounding.
Terrible at recipes. I wish I could tell you and not have to write it out. I'll admit that cooking is a practice for me that I didn't overshare or even feel the need to document for many years. I don't know. It's a place I go to problem solve, and it does be feeling a bit like the movie beautiful mind. It's something that I think is simple and pure. If I start feeling some bullshit thought or overwhelming, it's dispelled.
Many things that I don't know I struggle to admit, and then when I do, I can't help but dive into it. I can't say that I ever get a functional grasp on the skill, but I remember learning how to put on mascara and watching a youtube video. I remember buying my first stick of red lipstick around that time. The clerk at Sephora said that black girls with blemished skin should avoid the color, or it'll draw attention to my flaws.
Remember looking at her, another black woman, and feeling so impossibly sad. I remember saying, "but it looks really good on me," as if it were an exception to the rule. I realized she wanted me to feel bad and buy some concealer. She didn't know that I draw attention to my flaws when I open my mouth to talk. I remember feeling so embarrassed when being feminine evaded me, but it was something I felt ashamed to admit that I was curious. I was curious about the whole of myself that was locked away in various hurt lockers.
At some point, I believe you can and are allowed to get to know all the parts of yourself without apology or constant exposition of an Audre Lorde quote. There's a part where even explaining why I got mascara felt more significant than the act of putting it on. There was so much shame and guilt, but I think just deciding one day it was a thing I wanted to do and that I was doing it.
So I'm twenty-ish. I had this mascara that I had impulsively purchased at CVS. I'm getting ready to go to Two-fer at the local bar. I had that mascara. You know the one with the watermelon green top and pink container. I thought I would stab myself in the eye.
There are times when I hear about "the work," and I imagine saying that I've done it without demystifying all the emotions, thoughts, and feelings I'm not proud of, like jealousy, envy, rage, and all the cruelty in my body. I imagine that to understand other people, it's like trying to learn anything a part of you has to want to know. I remember watching a video on cooking onions for the first time. I want to say it was Maangchi, and she's explaining the order in which to stir fry. There's a part of us where we want people to believe we came out of the womb effortless and all-knowing.
When I began to teach myself to cook in my college house, it was a choice. I grew up in the inner city, and I didn't know the difference between a cucumber and a zucchini. I knew that if I ate onions in Chinese takeaway, I wouldn't love it, but I didn't want to die like when I ate or smelled it cooking in the house. I remember stealing packets of soy sauce when I'd pick up my takeout, and I'd like practice.
I was mid-bite of an Impossible whopper, and I could hear the crunch of onion. I recalled years ago how I'd have puked my guts up tasting an onion in my food. I would've picked the onions out. I took another bite. There are times I think it's impossible to change, but ultimately, we move so quickly past changes and begin to form new narratives that we must ghostbust, and it's like we can't appreciate the development.
When I got the horrible news earlier…I worked through it, and then I cooked through it, and then I felt my body begin to rust. Unlike other times I reached out, and I said, "oh, this sucks," or well, I say, "haha, no worries," but I'm not perfect. I took a rest without explanation. Felt my joints gum up.
Like in Wizard Of Oz, when the rain falls, or the tin man cries, he begins to wear. The thing that always saddened me was that any significant or little something that felt too much would leave him stuck. He'll stay there alone till until God knows when and damn. I fear the same.
alone in my room is a once defunct and maybe weekly dispatch from the mundane from a local ficus. kelly is a writer & serial hobbyist. there are two episodes of alone in my room on soundcloud. you can donate to support a hobby or buy soil here.