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Friday, October 31, 2008

Save the pumpkins! Alternative Jack-o-lanterns examined

Apple, watermelon and pineappleEvery year, millions of pumpkin-Americans are gouged with knives and subjected to having their innards scooped as they are crafted into Halloween Jack-o-lanterns. After their one big night, they’re eaten by squirrels, unceremoniously discarded, or splattered on the roadways. Those that escape the annual slaughter are allowed to live for another month until, if they are fortunate enough to be selected, they realize a pumpkin’s ultimate calling: being transformed into a delicious pie.

Pumpkins haven’t always played the role of Jack-o-lanterns. Long before the tradition came to North America, European Celts carved faces out of hollowed-out turnips and rutabagas and used them as lanterns to fend off malevolent spirits. The name is most commonly attributed to the legend of an Irish farmer called Stingy Jack who tricked the devil a couple of times and was cursed to wander the night forever with only a turnip lit with a candle as his only light. Jack-o-lanterns made the leap across the pond to the United States in the middle to late 19th century, and since pumpkins were plentiful, bigger and easier to carve, they got the job.

But a group of British, um, researchers has determined that a wide variety of fruits and vegetables can be pressed into service in the absence of or in addition to a pumpkin. They experimented with a pepper, a mango, an eggplant, an apple, a watermelon, a pineapple, a rutabaga and a butternut squash, as well as a control pumpkin. The fruit scoopings were utilized to make tropical rum smoothies, with no apparent adverse effect on the results of the experiment. The whole project was documented on a just-launched blog .

There must be something around here that would accommodate a candle — I wonder if there’s still a cucumber in the fridge...?

The OCD Diet: Eating foods that rhyme

Here’s another apparently successful British experiment: The OCD Diet. Created and chronicled by b3ta denizen Oucheh (also known as Kate), this diet doesn’t require any calorie counting, carb avoidance, or any of those other tiresome details. All one needs to do is combine foods that rhyme — beans and sardines, for example, or (shudder) Lamb’s Heart Treacle Tart. It seems to be effective — Kate lost three pounds in five days. (And no wonder!)
J. Silverheels Gray, 9:13 AM


Carve your own pumpkin
Blogger Carlene, at 2:22 PM  

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