It’s day seven (out of eleven) of fall break. I have no childcare. My to-do list is so long I decide it’s best to ignore it entirely. I need a break. So I slide into the bath and tell my kids that interruptions are allowed only if there is a fire, an earthquake, or lots of blood. Twenty minutes in, there’s a knock at the bathroom door. It’s my six-year-old.
“Dash, is it an emergency?”
“No. But I did my pumpkin.”
“You did what to your pumpkin?”
“I carved an entire pumpkin by myself.”
“That mini saw thingy.”
I leap out of the bath and run into the kitchen. There it is.
“Those are the triangle eyes. And the rosy red cheeks. And a mouth. See? I did it.”
It’s beautiful. But I keep my mouth shut. We still have three pumpkins left and I’m not up for a visit to the emergency room.
“Dash. Why don’t you scoop the seeds out so I can roast them?”
“What? You eat those?”
“I do. Yes.”
“Fine. You can have them.”
“Dash. Listen to me. Please don’t carve the other pumpkins.”
“We will do them together. I want to see your technique.”
“Okay. Fine. Mom?”
“Get back in the bath. You’re dripping water all over the floor.”
2 small sugar pumpkins (yielding about 2 cups of seeds) 1 teaspoon kosher salt 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (the thicker the better) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.