We are fast approaching a time of year when I stand out like a sore thumb. Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, and I’ll have to start avoiding two of the most popular fall foods, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. I hate ‘em. While the rest of the world is lapping up candied sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, I’m turning my head. I don’t like anything that tastes or smells like pumpkin. No pumpkin bread, no pumpkin pie. I don’t even eat pumpkin roll and that contains large quantities of cream cheese, one of my favorite food groups. It doesn’t matter how much you spice it up or cover it with sugar, I can’t eat pumpkin. It gags me. The same goes for sweet potatoes. I get rave reviews for my candied sweet potatoes, but I have to hold my nose when I cook them. All the marshmallow cream in the world can’t dress them up enough for my taste buds. Ooh, and don’t bring me any of that southern favorite, sweet potato pie. Blech! It’s one of the few (and I mean very few) desserts I won’t eat.
I don’t know why I’m this way. I like other foods that are considered quite nasty by other folks. You know, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage. I love cabbage. I actually crave cabbage on a regular basis. That’s downright weird, I know. I even eat chick peas, and nobody likes chick peas. I have to admit I’m not a spinach eater, but that’s because I ate large quantities of it as a kid due to my Popeye addiction and heaved it up one night all over my long hair. Whoops. I should have given you a gross alert on that one. Anyway, I didn’t care too much for spinach after that. I’m not big on turnips either, but I think that’s because my mom scared me with turnips. I had a great aunt who was prone to freezing her leftovers for years and reheating them for big family gatherings. When we got to Aunt Tottie’s house, Mama would sniff out the stuff most likely to cause salmonella and whisper a warning in my ear. Inevitably, it was, “Don’t eat the turnips, tell your brothers”. I think she instilled a turnip phobia in me I can’t quite shake. They’re probably quite lovely.
Every year I try a little bit of pumpkin, just to see if I’ve outgrown my distaste for it, and every year I end up spitting it out in a napkin and wiping my tongue like Tom Hanks in “Big”. The hardest part is living with the comments from people who can’t believe I don’t like it. Around these parts, it’s almost like breaking the eleventh commandment if you don’t eat pumpkin pie. And then when I tell them I love cranberry relish, they really freak, because no one else likes the cranberry relish. “What? You’ll eat cranberry relish, but you won’t eat pumpkin pie? What’s wrong with you?” Well, nothing’s wrong with me. I just don’t understand why someone would look at a hard, round sphere and say let’s peel that sucker open and cook the stringy stuff in the middle. I’ll bet that’s some good eatin’. This year I’m asking for a truce. Don’t ask me to try the pumpkin pie, and I won’t do my turkey dance for you at the table.
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