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By Laura Stec

50 Shades of Pumpkin

Uploaded: Oct 31, 2015

Every time I walked into our library lately – there it was - just sitting on the shelf staring at me– the Fifty Shades of Grey DVD. I missed the craze; didn’t read or watch it. But how can one not be at least a little interested, you know, from a current events point of view? I finally checked it out. And invited over the girls.

“I am not going to feed you until I have your written consent.” Taking a deep breath, they walk in.

“I have rules...... follow them and you get rewarded.”

A few bite lips nervously, and then rise up, “What do we get out of it?” they demand.

Well, how about Fifty Shades of Pumpkin? Sprawled across my dining room table is a cornucopia of practically every pumpkin thingy I could get my hands on from the annual Trader Joe's celebration.

Here’s my review. How about yours?

Pumpkin Ravioli – I love the idea but the essence didn’t come through. They really need a flavorful sauce. I did brown butter and fried sage, but that didn’t supply enough of a kick.

Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds – a little too sweet for me but S loved them.

Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps: Excellent! We paired with mascarpone and ate practically everyone one out of the box.

Pumpkin Ale: Nice. I’d call it a “girls beer.” Not too hoppy.

Pumpkin Tortilla Chips: Ok. Hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. Nothing memorable but good with mango salsa

Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Salted Caramels: Yum – I went back and bought a few more boxes as gifts.

Pumpkin Spiced Tea: Light pumpkin and spice. Not bitter. An easy drinking tea. Delicious chilled.

Pumpkin Panettone: Light and fresh with candied pumpkin. However, I am loosing interest in white floury foods. I don't feel like I have eaten anything after I eat them.

Pumpkin Cheesecake: Meh. And kind of pasty. The seasonal flavor came through with the spices, but the pumpkin flavor was lacking.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Ginger Cookies: Yes! Now we are talking.

The movie plays on while we spoon Pumpkin Butter (sweetened pureed pumpkin, a little would have been good on those ravioli’s) and Pumpkin Cookie Butter (sweeter, more like peanut butter, good on toast). The Cookie Butter coats my mouth with a silky, lickable cream. Like a dog, I smack it all around till tongue and lips go limp. Both butters blend perfectly with the movie action.

“I don’t just make food ladies, I cook…hard.” I keep feeding them and feeding them until they start to moan.

“We aim to please, but you know, there's a very fine line between pleasure and pain. They are two sides of the same coin, one not existing without the other. So who’s got room for the Pumpkin Chai?”

The movie ends and so does our pumpkin rampage.

The ladies leave and I collapse on the floor.

It’s just another day in the kitchen, raising the ordinary to the extraordinary.

I asked on the neighbor email group to borrow real handcuffs for this photo shoot. Someone replied, “I bet people have them, but no one will admit it!” Well, someone did respond and we are honored to feature Stanley Hoffman’s original cuffs from his time at the NYPD. After coming out of WWII as a radar man in the Navy where he was in the battle of Iwo Jima, Stanley started life as a motorcycle officer in NYC. The bikes then were the Indians. He spent seven years in Harlem as a sergeant during the toughest times in that section of NYC, and rode point for Pope Paul VI's motorcade in 1965. He ended his 28 years running the motorcycle division as Lieutenant. The cuffs were graciously loaned by his daughter, Ellen.