Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Curse of the Great Pumpkin (and a Giveaway)


I was a man (not really) with a plan (yes, really). I had a bunch of orders for chili, soup and lots of other good stuff  and was determined to get everything done today.

The chili-making went smoothly. My pumpkin soup, however, was a completely different matter. It seemed so promising in the beginning, every step going exactly as planned. I mean, come on. I've only made this dish a few hundred times before.

But you know how some princes turn into pumpkins? Well, this pumpkin turned into a little punk. After pureeing my lovingly sautéed and roasted vegetable mixture together with my simmered-for-hours homemade chicken stock, I tasted the mixture. Hmmm. Bland.

I hadn't really added any other bells and whistles yet other than salt and pepper, so I shrugged it off and added my spices.  Still off. Way off.

At this point, all that was left to add was a smidgen of cream. The flavors should have been coming through loud and clear, but this soup was strangely muted. Hell, this soup was Marcel Marceau.

Sweetness, I thought. The soup seemed to cry out (or mime frantically), "Give me some sugar, baby." Except there was no sugar in my recipe.  Perplexed, I continued to add sugar, all the spices and seasonings in my arsenal, and then some.

Finally, I realized that the flavor my pumpkin soup was missing was, well, pumpkin. I had gotten stuck with a particularly flavorless squash, and no spice was going to fix that. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't amazing either, and I couldn't bring myself to tell people I made it, much less make them give me money for it.

Reluctantly, I called time of death, railed against the (toy) kitchen gods and glumly packed the soup in containers. Tonight, my cleaning lady's family and my doormen will enjoy some just-okay pumpkin soup. Meanwhile,  I am going out to dinner and will try to drown my sorrows in sushi. There's always tomorrow, after all. And another pumpkin in the pumpkin patch.


In an attempt to improve my kitchen karma, I am now announcing my very first giveaway. Up for grabs: six bottles (500 ml each) of spicy chili con carne retailing for PHP400 each.


1) Click on and "Like" the Real Girl, Toy Kitchen page on Facebook.

2) Share this post on your own Facebook timeline/page.

3) Post a comment below of if you're shy, email me at so I know how to get a hold of you if you win.

Do this from now until 11:59 p.m. March 12th (Tuesday night, Philippine time), or the kitchen gods will smite you and you'll never make (or gasp! eat) a decent meal again. No, not really, but if you decide to do this, I will put your name in a bowl and then draw from said bowl the six lucky (or at least, luckier than me) winners.

Sorry, international friends, but in order to win, you'll need to be local AND be willing and able to pick up your prize here at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. But do feel free to spread the word. Hey, everyone could use a little good karma, right? ;)

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