If my wife wasn’t such a good cook, I’d be 50 pounds lighter. I’m not blaming her, though.
She’s never threatened my life to get me to eat a sixth (or seventh) piece of her crispy fried chicken. She doesn’t make me eat three helpings of her delicious macaroni and cheese. She certainly never said I had to eat an entire pumpkin pie.
Add to her cooking my own indulgences on the grill, seasoned greens, homemade chili or Northern Italian Bolognese spaghetti sauce, and you’ve got a bulging situation.
I suppose it started as our kids began leaving the nest. My wife was used to preparing suppers for a family of five. But as each young’un grew up and moved out, she continued to fix meals big enough for a reinforced infantry fire team. Our refrigerator started to collect stuff it rarely saw during the first 21 years of our marriage — leftovers. Now, 14 years later, I show the effects of not allowing leftovers to go to waste. My lunches went from cold-cut sandwiches to full meals stuffed into Tupperware containers.
Although my wife has begun reducing the size of her roasts and side-dish portions, she has started cooking things and hiding them in the freezer. I’m not just talking about my chili or Bolognese sauce; she’s been freezing cakes and special holiday delights.
Recently, she rediscovered an old recipe for pumpkin bars in one of her 6,000 cookbooks. Since she hadn’t made it in a while, she decided to “make a batch” well before Thanksgiving to make sure it was as good as she remembered.
It was. I ate several brownie-size squares the first night, and then a few more with my coffee for breakfast. When I checked on them that afternoon, they were almost gone. No, she hadn’t eaten them. She froze them to be eaten another day (and prevent me from eating myself to death).
She’s also tried a new recipe — pumpkin pound cake. I’m not generally a dessert person, but these pumpkin sweets caught me at a weak moment. As before, though, half the cake is in the freezer. She wants me to live to eat another day.
She did agree to release the recipes for these treats.
1 cup of pumpkin
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Mix pumpkin with baking soda and set aside. In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg, and then stir in sugar and oil. Combine flour and spices and add pumpkin. Mix until well blended. Spread mixture evenly in a greased and floured 10-by-10-by-1-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow it to cool then drizzle with glaze made from half a cup of powdered sugar, a teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of milk.
Pumpkin pound cake
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin
Spray a Bundt pan. Stir dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Wisk together sugar, oil, eggs and pumpkin, and then fold in dry ingredients. Bake one hour at 350 degrees. Allow it to cool, and then drizzle with the same glaze mentioned above.
Enjoy it while you can before it goes in the freezer.
Murray’s food column appears weekly in the Courier. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.