Couple Swapping and a Recipe for Anti-Drama Pumpkin Soup


In this column, Katherine Knowles divulges recipes you can make in your tiny New York City kitchen. 

“Speaking of couple swapping,” said my mother, which, as it happens, we were not, “did we tell you about Peter and Lydia?”

We were in the car, taking my visiting parents to see the pumpkin festival at Blaze, catching up on the local news as Saw Mill River Parkway teetered on the edge of the seasons — burnished leaves on the left, snow on the right.

“Well, their kids are all grown up and not around much anymore, so Lydia joined an amateur dramatic society, met James, and they became an item, and eventually, after 30-something years of marriage, she asked Peter for a divorce.

“Well, of course, Peter was absolutely devastated. But he met Mary, James’s wife, at the lawyer’s office, and he asked her to lunch, because they’d have a lot in common, really, when you think about it. Anyway, the two of them hit it off, and now they’re living together. So, you never know. Drama can just hit a life, I suppose, and you have to roll with it.”

Food for thought as we parked in a field, bundled up our coats and scarves, and headed out into a glittering wonderland of pumpkins carved into dinosaurs.

Pumpkin Soup (serves 4 – 6)
This soup reheats really well — it’s ideal to have around for busy weeknight supper, post-Thanksgiving Balloon viewing warming-up, post-shopping sustenance, and for general calming down and chilling out in the face of seasonal drama.

1 large onion
1 clove of garlic
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 can pumpkin (not pie filling!)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups stock (I use chicken stock)
1/2 cup of apple cider
1 cup half and half

Dice the onion and sauté in a splash of oil (and a dab of butter, ideally) until soft (about 10 minutes). Grate in the garlic, and toss in the squash and pumpkin. Season well. Add the stock and apple cider, then simmer for 40 minutes until the squash is tender. Blend (I use a stick blender). Add the apple cider vinegar, the half and half, and adjust the seasoning.
Serve steaming hot, ideally with a grating of gruyere and some toast for dipping, or with a handful of popcorn as a garnish.