Yes, I can criticize Safeway, but I’m still sucked in by their advertising. This billboard has been all over town in the past couple of weeks, so I decided I just had to try making pumpkin soup in a pumpkin shell to bring for Thanksgiving this year.
I waited until the last minute, and then couldn’t find a big enough pumpkin last night at Berkeley Bowl or Whole Foods. So I thought, “Hmm… Safeway’s the one advertising the soup in the pumpkin. They must have the right sized pumpkin.” Turns out, Safeway didn’t have any pumpkins at all. And when I asked a clerk where the pumpkins were, he gave me a really funny face and said, “Lady, Halloween’s been over!”
“I know Halloween’s over,” I protested, “but tomorrow’s Thanksgiving! You don’t have pumpkins for pumpkin pie?”
“Oh! You want the pumpkin in the can!” he exclaimed.
How could I respond? This is the world that Safeway and other mainstream grocery stores have created. Real pumpkins are for jack-o-lanterns and billboards. But we can’t conceive of eating them unless they’ve been processed and canned. So I used a few smaller pumpkins from Whole Foods instead, and I’ll just refill the small pumpkin tureen from the pot. Here’s how my creation turned out:
Let me know if you want the recipe/directions and I’ll post them later. (Regarding the plastic used, one cap from a glass container of Straus organic whipping cream and the plastic coating a 1/2 pint of buttermilk. That’s it.) I’ve got to get ready to leave for our friend’s house.
But before I go, just a few words about tomorrow, “black Friday,” traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S. There are movements, as there have been for years, to encourage people to stay home on black Friday and not get sucked into all the consumerist madness.
Tomorrow is officially “Buy Nothing Day” in the U.S. and Canada. The rest of the world celebrates Buy Nothing Day this Saturday. Adbusters has events planned all over the place to protest the shop-til-you-drop mentality.
Melanie Rimmer, a blogger I enjoy reading, has a Make A Gift Challenge on her web site. Staying home and putting together a handmade gift would be a nice way to celebrate Buy Nothing Day.
If you do want to spend money, consider buying handmade items made by craftspeople. Consider signing the Pledge to Buy Handmade this Holiday season.
Etsy has become one of my favorite web sites for finding gifts made by local craftspeople who will respond to my questions and package things the way I’d like them to be packaged. It’s so nice to communicate with a real-live human-being! I’ll write more about the Etsy sellers I’ve enjoyed dealing with later.
Another organization I like to support is Global Exchange. They have three retail stores (San Francisco, Berkeley, Portland) but also sell fair trade handmade gifts online.
What will I be doing tomorrow? Making the rounds of the hood gathering free cat supplies that Freecyclers have so graciously offered to me! Yes, we are still getting a kitten. Maybe two? We have to see if the landlord goes for it.