In my post Cans - Part One - Cans are Scary, I mentioned why it is I seem to have this problem with cans; associating cans with Botulism at a ratio of one to one. I also talked about how I hadn't opened a can and eaten the contents (without any help) in 17 years. And even with help, I still haven't opened more than a handful of cans in all that time. Well, on Friday, one can met its end. Your Hostess - 1. Can of pumpkin - 0. Triumph. Small, but telling.
Here's how it went.
I woke up with this very strange and unshakable desire for pumpkin pancakes. I have never made pumpkin pancakes. I make pancakes all the time, but if you are me then adding pumpkin means getting an actual pumpkin, chopping off the top of its head, pulling out the stringy insides, and roasting it. Then removing the skin, chopping it up, and running it through a food processor. This is needlessly complex. Roasting your own pumpkin makes for very good pumpkin, but it is an incredible time sink.
So, no pumpkin pancakes for me.
Except ... there was this can. See, last year at Thanksgiving I did buy two cans of pumpkin so I could make pumpkin pie for my sister that was vegetarian, as well as soy-free, egg-yolk-free, and malt/barley-free. I actually bought a can opener to do it, since I most certainly didn't own one. I made the pie( after getting lots of approval on the contents of said can) and then did not eat any for two days. Then I managed to eat a piece, although I worried for the whole day, and spent the whole time checking for illness and any strange symptoms of 'I'm just not feeling right.' Which is fricken always.
Well, the pie only took one can of pumpkin to make. And the other can got shoved into the back of the pantry. So when I wandered down on Friday, thinking about pancakes and pulling the baking powder down, it caught my eye. Usually when I see a can I get a vague nauseous feeling and look away. This time, I got the sick feeling, but didn't turn. It was ... tempting. I had a can of pumpkin. Hmmm.
Just to test the water I picked it up and checked the date. Another two years left. I inspected the can thoroughly. Dents? Strange sticky spots? Bulges? Ripped label? No. Nothing. It was pristine and perfect. So I figured, well, might as well open it and just see ...
Took me five minutes to find the can opener. Another three to remember how to use it. Then I crimped it onto the can and cranked it around. The inside smelled very pumpkiny. Smelled good, actually. No weird scent or strange colors. I sniffed it several times and held it under the light. Still I was unable to find a reason to dismiss the contents.
I set it aside, and went to work putting together my usual pancake recipe. But before I added any of the liquids, I looked back at the can. What the hell. I dumped it into my mix and then simply adjusted the amount of liquid until I had something that resembled batter. I've never found pancakes to be particularly tricky.
And from that point, it was surprisingly easy. I put in a lot of spices; cloves, two kinds of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, Chinese five spice powder, nutmeg and a few other things I can't remember. Then I cooked them up. They smelled GOOD. And I really, really wanted to eat them.
And I did. Now, I can't say that I haven't had a twinge since then. In fact, every time my tummy has been the slightest bit off, I've thought about those pancakes. But I have not had a panic attack, haven't needed to call the CDC, and haven't lost any sleep over it.
What I've been left with is this desire to really know WHY. Why is it that I had this success? Why have things changed enough to allow this to happen? Lower stress levels, or meditation, or good therapy, or proper dose on the meds, or better diet, or doing lots of writing ... etc? I've done all of that, made all of those changes. So there is no way to know. It probably isn't a single cause, anyway. If it were that easy, I'd make a mint selling the secret.
Whatever it was. I am still smiling about it.
Your Hostess with Neuroses
Image is the actual can in question, crushed in defeat.
Monday, November 16, 2009
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