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Pumpkin Is My Favorite Organic Material

Of all the Autumnal perks, I am going to boldly declare that my favorite part of Fall is the proliferation of pumpkins and pumpkin-derived goods. For one thing, pumpkins look freaking awesome. Even before you slice a visage into their hide, the unmolested pumpkin is still such a charming-looking gourd. They look almost half-cartoonish to me, like some made-up fruit that was dreamed up for the cover of a swords-and-sandals fantasy-novel, but then cleverly slipped into our dimension. The little imps!
You know what’s great? Pumpkin ale. Pumpkin ales rock my socks off. Done well, it’s a perfectly spiced brew. Robust without being too heavy. Not sweet, yet irresistably honeyed. Here’s a quick, from-the-hip list of my top five pumpkin ales. (Always be sure to drink these from a glass instead of straight from the bottle, since half the flavor comes from the beer’s ambrosial aroma.)
1. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (this one is just about perfect)
2. Post Road Pumpkin Ale
3. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
4. Heartland Brewery’s Smiling Pumpkin Ale (only available at their restaurant, I believe)
5. Shipyard PumpkinHead Ale

You know what else are great? Pumpkin pancakes. My dad used to make these all the time when I was a kid. The recipe calls for canned pumpkin, so I guess there’s no reason you couldn’t make these for the 4th of July if you felt like it, but something about having them in the Fall just makes it feel more legit. Here’s the recipe I use. One thing to note however, is that I use about twice the amount of pumpkin that is usually suggested, which basically transforms this into a recipe for pumpkin-pie filling with some Bisquick added. This makes for an admittedly gummier pancake, but the taste is so much more pronounced, and rules all the harder for it. Skip the maple syrup, and serve these lovelies with some fresh-made whip cream instead.
2 cups Bisquick
2 Tbs. packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground allspice
12 oz can of Evaporated Milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all the dry stuff, then add all the wet stuff. Boom.

You know what else is great? Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin soup, roasting the scraps of pumpkin left from carving jack-o-lanterns with some nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar and a dash of cayenne, wearing a pumpkin on your head as a costume (thanks Juan), calling a girl “pumpkin,” hanging out in pumpkin patches……..

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