Friday, November 25, 2005

THE YEAR OF THE PUMPKIN BISQUE.....and other Thanksgiving Day Disasters

At the time they occur, culinary disasters at holiday times are considered just that. Disasters. But they live on in family lore and their retelling year after year provide laughter around the holiday dinner tables, thus helping aid digestion. UM, ok, I'm tring to put a good spin on it. And with good reason as I have my own disaster(s) lurking in my past.

The most recent was the pumpkin bisque. I had enjoyed the pumpkin bisque served at the Oglebay Inn and Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia and wanted to recreate it myself. Two years ago, I had decided that for Thanksgiving that year, we would start off the meal with pumpkin bisque and end it with pumpkin pie.

One thing you need to know about me is that I enjoy cooking, experimenting with cooking and have had good success with those experiments. But the bisque was not one of my success stories. Pureed pumpkin has an appearance and consistency of something that is the opposite of appetizing. I attempted to cosmetically enhance the bowls of bisque with a dollop of softened cream cheese and parsely. It was not helping.

We sat down, dug in and the Ugh's! and ack's! reverberated around the table. That was the year we met my son-in-law's father for the first time. He was sitting across the table from me and his reaction can only be described as comically valiant. He shuddered slightly, his eyes kind of crossed, he took a deep breath and started to take another spoonful. His momma obviously raised him to be polite. I grabbed his bowl before he could get another taste.

Tim was my soon-to-be son-in-law at that point and he declared the bisque to be delicous. He even had seconds. Suck-up. My mother, being a typical mom, said it "wasn't that bad."

My daughters -- being daughters -- gagged, wretched, and declared it to be the most vile stuff they've ever tasted.

My dad was quiet.

The story of Pumpkin Bisque was retold this year around the table and Tim stated he enjoyed it so much he had four bowls. I told him to quit sucking up.

The Year of the Pumpkin Bisque is (in)famous in our family for another reason. It was also the year my mother contributed a v!brator to the festivities. But that's another story for another day.

Everyone has had a holiday disaster; I invite you to share yours in the "comments" section.


insomniac said...

this isn't a holiday story, but my Mom once spent all day preparing some kind of French ham recipe,putting in various spices and so on. When she was done, she said ,"Oh my God, I've made Spam!"

Slyeyes said...

Did she also make the gelatinous goo that surrounds Spam?

Jeff Meyerson said...

Pumpkin bisque? (*shudder*)

I'm with your daughters on that one, sly.

Once, early in our marriage, we had a lot of my relatives over for some holiday dinner. My Uncle Jack (actually, great uncle by marriage) ate an entire pot of meatballs. From that day on Jackie always made enough food for Coxey's Army (a reference my mother used to make when we were kids, which I didn't get until learning who he was many years later).

Susan said...

Two Christmases ago, my sister and her then fiance (now husband) came for the holidays. My mother was making macaroni and cheese. The water had come to a boil for the macaroni. mother dumps in the shredded cheddar cheese. Then realizing her mistake, panicked...and dumped the pot of BOILING water into a collander, thinking she could save the cheddar.

Shredded cheese does not last long in boiling water.

Leetie said...



Jeff Meyerson said...

Susan, that's hilarious! It reminds me of the Dan Aykroyd/Julia Child routine: "Save the chicken!"

Kafaleni said...

It's better than cutting the cheese. Or so I've been led to believe.

*tries to think*

*hears spring wind too tight*

*SPROING* Uh-oh.

Kafaleni said...

Isn't pumpkin bisque like pumpkin soup? Or similar enough? It sounds good to me.

Slyeyes said...

Bisque is thicker than soup and generally more of an autumn dish. And yesterday was apparently a bisque day for me. At lunch, I had a cup of tomato bisque and at dinner, I had a cup of butternut squash bisque, which was wonderful! Velvetty smooth, and kind of reminded me of the pumpkin bisque I had in Wheeling.

Kafaleni said...

I just can't see how pumpkin bisque could be bad. Then again, I don't think I've met a pumpkin that I haven't loved (not loved).

I have recipes for pumpkin everything... muffins, breads, lasagne, curries, pasta dishes, fruitcake, cookies, pies, cheesecake, ... the list goes on.

MrFisher said...

This year, my mother kept her tradition of burning something alive and well, burnt.

I had just arrived and she was topping the yams with large marshmellows and popped them in the oven.

She walked over and took Aiden from my arms to hold him and then my sister and her fiance arrived and she forgot about the Yams!

As soom as my sister made her way into the kitchen sha said uh, what's that smoking in mom tosses me back Aiden and runs over and jerks the oven door open and screams "Watch out! Watch out!! Move! Move!!"

And the kitchen filled with smoke as she pulled out the yams now covered with blackened marshmellows. I said, well I guess this year we're having Cajun Sweet Potatoes! As my mother went over to the smoke detector that was busy screeching most hideously at the top of its lings (who they had lungs?) and started waving a towel in front of it.

She said "well, I guess you'll just have to scrap the top off of them. Shut up."


Eleanor said...

The audience enters and reads all stories.


There HAS to be an audience, doesn't there?

Aunt Nancy said...

I can't cook, and I can't choose from amongst my many disaster stories to share one. Therefore, I shall share the poem that's on a plaque I painted. (The plaque hangs in my kitchen.)

He who comes here must trust to fate
To tempt his palate and fill his plate
Sometimes there is, sometimes there ain't
I am no cook; I like to paint!

Slyeyes said...

Aunt Nancy.... I like your plaque.

Fish: Is your mom related to Eva Gabor? --- That reminds me of the "scraped pizza" Lisa Douglas used to serve on Green Acres.

*geezer alert*

MrFisher said...

Bah dump bah dump dump

Bump Bump

: )

*goes to check Fish Tree*

Higgy said...

The best one in our family was the year that my mum had a little too much wine, took a "nap" (i.e. passed out) on the couch, and didn't wake up until the turkey was in cinders (we were all outside doing good healthy home chores.)

We ended up having leftover chicken with all the rest of the fixings!

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