Warm and comforting Pumpkin Soup for Shabbat

#tweetyourshabbat is a global movement founded by Carly Pildis, celebrating the struggle and joy of getting Shabbat on the table every week. This is a place for real dinners and real conversations about Jewish life. Join us at the Forward in sharing what you’ll be eating and how your feeling this week at #TweetYourShabbat

My three-year-old daughter generally twirls through life. She can’t see a dog without petting it. She can’t see a puddle without jumping in it. We went hiking and she tried to take all the rocks home with her. Recently, she has become somewhat obsessed with pumpkins.

I gave my daughter a tiny pumpkin and she screamed in delight. A baby pumpkin! She sang to it and cradled it. Walking through the neighborhood, she stops every time she sees a pumpkin. MOMMY A PUMPKIN. She is convinced pumpkins are magical, and when her daddy brought her home one to carve, she was wild with excitement. On the way out the door this morning she had to stop and dance with her pumpkin and pet its head.

Kids going through a lot right now, because as adults we have failed them. Many of our children are suffering greatly after months without social interactions, and even children like mine who are lucky enough to be in school are growing up too fast. My daughter has had to learn about illness, hospitals, and her own vulnerability much faster than any of us would have wanted.
The pandemic has taken so much from so many people, and it’s hard to watch the littlest people in our lives suffer. I worry that the coldness of the world will change her, steal her exuberant joy away. How much longer will she jump in muddy puddles? Exclaim loudly when something is delicious? Stop to examine leaves?

I can’t stop her from growing up too fast. She knows that terrible things are happening. She knows she must do her part to help keep people from getting sick, no indoor playdates, no birthday parties, no trick or treating. It enrages me that she has more of a sense of responsibility toward communal well being than our President. At a time when I would like her to remain a child, the world is forcing her to grow up, and I can’t do much about it.

What I can do is try to keep this short period of magic and wonder and innocence going for her a little longer. I bought 40 plastic pumpkin bags and filled them with candy and toys to hide around her best friend’s backyard on Halloween night. She will romp through her best friend’s yard in a sparkling princess dress and matching pink mask searching for prizes. I can teach her to find joy even in hard times and to value those who love us when life is hard and scary.

I can let her buy way too many sugar pumpkins and also show her how with a little magic, we can make them into so many wonderful things to eat. I can make her a big comforting bowl of soup, filled with cinnamon, sage and cream, and watch her mop it up with challah. She’ll sing to herself as she does when she is really enjoying something, and I’ll just watch her, happy she can be little and find so much joy in simple things for just a little longer.

How was your week? How are you spending Shabbat? Let us know at #tweetyourshabbat! Everyone is welcome at this table! Come hungry.

Pumpkin Soup

You can use homemade puree or canned. Honestly canned is just fine. This soup is creamy and rich and full of warm fall flavors. It comes together quickly for a great first course for Shabbat Dinner and great leftovers.

2 celery stalks plus quarter cup celery leaves
1 yellow onion
2 cans pumpkin puree or 4 cups of homemade puree
3 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 cup half and half
1 tablespoon chopped sage
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
5 cloves garlic
Half a stick butter

Melt butter in a large pot. Add celery, onion, garlic, ginger, sage and onion powder. Cook until fully soft and slightly caramelized. Add vegetable broth, spices, garlic salt, and pumpkin. Bring to a low boil then simmer for about 10 minutes, until the flavors have melded. Puree, preferable with an immersion blender so you don’t need to move it around. Add half and half and fold in gently. Allow to simmer about another 10 minutes or so, until it is rich, creamy and warmly spiced.

Serve and top with pumpkin seeds. If feeding grown-ups, a sprinkle of hot paprika, or cumin, or cayenne would be lovely on top.

Warm and comforting Pumpkin Soup for Shabbat

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Warm and comforting Pumpkin Soup for Shabbat

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