It is Tuesday and Eilene’s friends are coming over. Today’s theme is pumpkin. My original thought was to make pumpkin soup, but one of the friends is going to make that. I remembered my mother’s pumpkin bread and Eilene liked that idea.
Before I left home for the first time, I sat down with Claudia’s recipe box and wrote down my favorite dishes. Her pumpkin bread was one of the ones I had to have. Warm from the oven, slathered in butter, good childhood memories, the smell of home.
Looking at the recipe with an experienced adult eye, however, I felt the need to make a few changes to make it slightly healthier. I cut the sugar in half, I wanted it to be a bread, not a cake. I also had to eliminate the walnuts—last month I suddenly became allergic to all tree nuts (boy, am I sad!)
Does anyone else remember when a “number eight can” actually had two cups (16 oz.) of the product. In my mother’s recipe she calls for two cups of pumpkin. By this she meant one can. Today, the marketers have colluded to reduce the contents of the cans. Surely the customers will not notice that the can that should have 2 cups now has only 15 ounces (or even 14½ ounces). Marketers avoid lying on the label by saying that the can has “about” two one cup servings. What crimes may be committed with careful wording.
This has been going on for years, but it has gotten much worse lately. It is a way to trick you into paying more for less. Is this corporate collusion to cheat their customers or is it—that no mater which label is on the can—they are all owned by the same mega-food corporation?
If you are rich and well fed, this theft might go unnoticed. If you are poor, that one ounce is four or five bites out of someone’s meal. To make just a bit more profit, these people are taking food out of the mouths of babies! Where is Weights and Measures when you need them?
Karl’s Pumpkin Bread
3 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1½ tsp. salt
¾ cup vegetable oil (soy bean or canola)
1 can unsweetened pumpkin (15 oz.)
1 cup walnuts (optional)
1. Blend all dry ingredients.
Tip: I sift all of the dry ingredients four or five times to get a thorough blend. If your brown sugar has clumped up you may need to grind it, with the back of a spoon or in a mortar and pestle, to get it to go through the sifter.
2. Put the eggs, water, and pumpkin into a separate bowl and mix them completely.
3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and quickly fold the wet ingredients into the dry.
Tip: You do not want to over work the batter. This would produce too much gluten and tough loaf.
Note: If you have a lot of dry ingredients left over when you are mixing, you may need to add a bit more oil. You may add water or milk instead, if you feel there is enough oil. You want the batter to be wet, but not soupy.
4. Put mixture in four greased mini-loaf pans (and top with walnuts, if you are using them).
Note: I always prefer to use mini-loaf pans to bake any batter bread. My mother always made this bread in full sized loaf pans. To get them to cook completely, she had to bake them for an hour and 45 minutes. There was always the danger of burning the tops and ending up with gummy, under-cooked batter in the middle of the loaf.
5. Bake at 375° for 45 to 55 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
6. Remove from the pans while still warm and cool on a wire rack before slicing.