Tag Archive | Food

The Great Pumpkin Patch

There are five kid’s birthdays in October in my immediate family.  Celebrating each one separately is an impossible feat. This is why we combine birthdays for the family… and they have their separate parties with their friends.

The past few years, we’ve embraced the Fall birthday season and go pumpkin picking followed by dinner and cake. We like to make it a full day and since the age range for the birthdays fall between six and seventeen so there’s a little bit of something for everyone.

It’s interesting to see how inventive of the local businesses are when latching on something that’s going to improve their bottom line and extend their season. More power to them, they got me through their door.

We went to a Food Market/Garden Center near my sister’s home.  Our group of a thousand (okay, twenty-three) met at the designated time.  My sister, otherwise know as the Martha Stewart of the family, came prepared with thermoses full of apple cider for the kids and perverted apple cider for the adults (you know, cider with a little extra fermentation… wink, wink).

Once our group assembles (that task in itself is a small miracle, we live within a hundred mile radius of each other so time coordination is essential) and we sip our magical cider we’re ready for the hayride.  There’s nothing like squeezing twenty three people on the back of a tractor pulling a wagon with bales of hay as the seats. After a “scenic” bumpy ride through a parking lot, past a few greenhouses full of other birthday parties, you go through a very small corn field on your way to the mythical pumpkin patch.

Charlie Brown gets the credit, but it’s really Linus Van Pelt who made me appreciate the magic of the pumpkin patch.  As you get closer and closer to the Pumpkin patch, your heart races.  Childhood dreams of picking the perfect pumpkin fresh off the vine dance in your mind.

You see yourself walking through long rows of vines, searching out the pumpkin that calls to you, will it be perfectly round?  Oval?  Misshapen and with a little personality? (Like Linus, I uphold the belief that pumpkins have personalities. Don’t judge me).  You know you’ll recognize the right pumpkin the moment you lay eyes on it.

You pass on the corn maze because you can’t wait to meet your special pumpkin (besides, the corn has only grown about 3 ft. tall, making more like a stroll through some corn than a maze).  Finally the tractor pulls up to the patch.  You take a deep breath, this is it. You feel it…the green of the vines, the crisp brown edges of the leaves as the vine dies away for the season.

Pumpkin Xanadu.

 Here’s what I always envision, pulling up to the Magical Pumpkin patch.

Here is the reality of our magical journey.  Stunning, isn’t it?

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(Cue the booby prize music)

An open dirt field, with crushed pumpkins randomly scattered among the others.

Not exactly the dream.  But the kids were happy.  I own my special pumpkin grown just for me. And everyday until Halloween I will tell my husband “We really need to carve this into a jack-o-lantern” and never will.

Location, Location, Location

I’ve been told I’m pretty tight lipped about the book I’m writing.  I don’t deny it. Most of my family doesn’t know it exists.  My fear is once I let the cat out of the bag, somehow they’ll manage to magically suck out my creativity.   I don’t want to think about my Mother reading my book.  And I know she will… and tell all her friends and the rest of my family.

That could mess with my head, as each word I type, I’d think…Oh God, my mother is going to read that… and all her red hat friends and my aunts, uncles and cousins (excuse me while I shudder at the thought).

So I’ll continue to keep it under wraps… for now. I’ll fess up once I sell the movie rights to my book (why aim low?) and I’ll have to explain why my house is suddenly beachfront, three sizes larger and Clooney is on his knees painting my toenails.

I went off course; I was going to talk about Location.

Choosing a location can be a complicated process. It can be as important as the story itself.  Sometimes it’s a prop, sometimes it’s a character (a nonspeaking, non-breathing character).  So much to think about.

Unless you’re me…

I chose a place I know well.  A place that’s as alive as you and me.  Somewhere I love like an old friend, who’s never borrowed money from me….New York City, specifically Manhattan.

My lead lives in the Village.  I love the Village. It’s quirky, fun and has it’s own beat.  There’s a store devoted to just The Big Lebowski (aptly named The Little Lebowski). Right there is proof of it’s coolness.  There are vintage clothes shops and vinyl records stores ( it pisses me off that I gave away my old vinyl records back in the 80’s and now my kid is buying them at $25 a pop- but that’s a complaint for another day).

But my main reason for choosing the Village.  Food.

Being the (cough, cough) dedicated author that I am, I needed to go to the location I chose, several times, to get a feel for it, walk in my heroine’s shoes. Okay, that’s a bunch of bull.  I’ve been to the Village enough to write about without actually going there again. I worked in Manhattan for years.

I was in it for the food.  Bakeries, bars, cheese shops, tea shops, tapas bars, Mexican, Indian, Thai, Italian, Japanese…you name it, you’ll find it.

The truth is I’m not that deep.  I don’t need to understand the Village, feel the vibe, experience it first hand in order to write about it.  I just wanted to eat.  Simple.

But I did manage to take a couple of pictures of the neighborhood where my leading lady lives and like her creator…eats.  I have sacrificed my waistline “for my art”…that sounds deep enough, doesn’t it?

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