Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Somebody Take This Obese Pumpkin, Please!

It's the time of year when gourds start to take over, spilling from the oven and dinner plate onto people's front porches and various home display nooks. And the grocery stores start getting inspired with their gigantic pumpkin and yellow-and-green warty gourd displays. Around Berkeley and Oakland, I've seen a number of obese pumpkins basking in their orange Jabba the Hutt folds at the Berkeley Bowl, out in front of Sweet Adeline's cafe, and some random restaurants along Telegraph that I zoomed past too quickly to remember.

People grow these enormous pumpkins, win prizes at county fairs, proudly display their overgrown vegetable progeny in a blaze of harvest glory. And then the excitement fades and reality sets in. You have an enormous, unwieldy pumpkin that no one is going to eat, that will grow moldy and disgusting, and that you will have to hack at with a chainsaw before it'll fit into your green bin.

The photo above comes from a Craigslist post from a San Francisco family that won this 160-lb. pumpkin for correctly guessing its weight and, now that the euphoria of that victory has shriveled to a wizened tendril, are trying to pawn off this nuisance on someone else. Here's the ad:

160 lb pumpkin -- who can resist?

Date: 2012-11-13, 8:45PM
We won this pumpkin in a contest for correctly guessing its weight.
We've enjoyed having it for the past month, but now it's time to let go.
Wouldn't necessarily suggest eating it, but great for use for decorative, artistic, or composting purposes.
Yours for free if you'd like to come pick it up. I'll help you carry it to your car.
We're near Japantown.

The ad is still live as of this posting (it's here!), so I hope I am doing a public service by spreading the news to someone who might want this bloated orange monster.  "Who can resist?" I imagine the family members smiling weakly, trying to convince you of the irresistible allure of the 160-lb pumpkin that's been decaying in their house for a month already and that they are begging you to take off their hands. "I'll help you carry it to your car." Please help. SOS.

While I'm on the topic of ornamental squash, I'd like to remind you that it's the time of the year when we gather round and reread my all-time favorite McSweeney's Internet Tendency column, "It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers." by Colin Nissan. It begins:

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. 

It continues in pretty much the same vein, until the cumulative effect of the macho-dude swearing and swagger to describe such Martha Stewart passions for seasonal decor makes me laugh so hard I cry, every time. I especially love the gourd necklace.

When it rains it pours, and the veggie posts keep coming tonight after two months of silence. (It's been a busy few months.) It must be the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and an early T-day feast last Sunday that got me thinking about vegetables again. Enjoy your feasts and don't forget to include some weird vegetables.

And thanks to Amaranth Gadberry for foraging this amazing pumpkin plea from the brambles of Craigslist. Lastly, I leave you with some choice obese pumpkin photos culled from the Internet. While 160 lbs might seem heavy to you, some of these award winners weigh in the area of 1,300 pounds or MORE. Yikes. And yes, that is a man riding in a pumpkin boat.

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