I recently inherited my grandmother’s loved and tattered copy of The Joy of Cooking, published in 1963. I never thought of her as a gourmet, but it’s clear that she used it as a constant reference. Its spine makes no attempt to hold its structure together, and there may be more handwritten inserts tucked into the pages than there are recipes in the book. To me, the recipes-both my grandmother’s originals and the book’s-seem delightfully outdated. One calls for a jar of marshmallow fluff. Many of them include cream or butter, more generously than most of us may be used to using. Still, I love mining the pages for classic combinations. The book has lately served as a lesson in food anthropology as well as a cooking blueprint.
This recipe for pumpkin soup, for example, was perfectly simple and easy, but I decided to add my own flavors and use broth instead of milk. It is hearty and filling, but very healthy. A great dish to usher in fall, and Halloween!
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
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1 large can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp curry
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large pot, heat about 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are transparent and starting to brown slightly, about five to seven minutes.
2. Add the butter, let it melt, then add the pumpkin and vegetable broth and stir. Add the spices and stir more, fully incorporating all the ingredients. Let simmer for about ten minutes, and serve hot. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and sage if you have it.