As a child growing up in Guyana, I was lucky to have four generations of family close by. Granny’s yard was always noisy with us running around, the cherry tree was always bare because we usually “raided it” (picked it clean) the moment the cherries were red enough and our clothes were forever stained with the juice of starapples (caimite) from the tree in the backyard. The best memories however were somehow associated with pumpkin soup.
Pumpkin soup was a Saturday “thing”. My favourite part was the floating dumplings in the steaming bowl. If any of us children fell ill, we got pumpkin soup. The best part was the extra love and attention that came on the side. In the Caribbean it was customary for a child to have multiple aunties, uncles, grannies and grandpas, none of whom were related by blood. Well I had my fair share and my adopted “granny” also cooked pumpkin soup on a Saturday. It was mandatory that I visited and ate every drop. I think the two grannies probably had some weekend soup schedule. The mantra was that pumpkin is good for my eyes so no complaining or arguements would be tolerated. The highlight was the coins I would get as spending money for the rest of the week. That was important – after all chicken foot and mango with salt & pepper was not free! Those schoolyard snacks were a necessity.
During a nostalgic moment, I attempted to recapture my pumpkin soup memories. Here is my unsophisticated recipe: boiling water, 1/2 pack Maggi pumpkin flavoured soup, generous amount of sweet potato & irish potato, 1 cup diced pumpkin, 2 chopped carrots, handful of macaroni shells, generous handful of chives (green onions), 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic, a bit of rosemary, 1 spoon of chopped red or green pimento peppers, a pinch of salt & pepper to taste, a dash of Angostura bitters, beef (optional), dumplings (mandatory), bubble on medium fire, stir from time to time, knock the pot with the spoon once or twice to sound like you know what you’re doing and hum a happy song. I am sure it will add to the overall taste. Voila! Enjoy!