Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Cream of Jack-o-Lantern soup

Jerry Stratton, October 14, 2020

Use the body parts of your hallowe’en pumpkin to make a tasty, if disconcerting, pumpkin soup.

Servings: 2
Preparation Time: 45 minutes


  • pumpkin carving leftovers
  • ¼ cup sliced green onion
  • 1 ½ tablespoons melted butter
  • 5 oz chicken broth
  • ½ small tomato, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup milk


  1. Place the pumpkin pieces on a pan and cover with aluminum foil.
  2. Bake at 350° until tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Mash; adjust remaining ingredients in proportion to one cup of mashed pumpkin.
  4. Sauté green onion in butter until tender.
  5. Add remaining ingredients except cream and milk.
  6. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Purée in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  8. Mix cream and milk together, then add into soup and heat through.
Lit jack-o-lantern

What’s more eerie, a glowing pumpkin-head flickering orange and red in the deep of the night, or making a soup from its eyes, nose, and lips?

Every Hallowe’en I take a delicious pumpkin, carve it inexpertly into a face, and put it outside to rot. It always seems like a great waste of a mass of very nice food. As much as I make fun of the spread of pumpkin spice throughout the food chain from potato chips to pasta sauce, I thoroughly enjoy real pumpkin.

It occurred to me last year that, while I can’t use the pumpkin head after it’s been sitting outside several days, I do have a handful of material left over from the carving. Would that be enough to make something out of?

Yes, carving my single medium-sized pumpkin provided almost exactly one cup of mashed pumpkin. That’s not enough for a full pie, but it does make a great couple of servings of cream of pumpkin soup. The recipe assumes that after roasting and mashing, you have approximately one cup of mashed pumpkin. You’ll need to adjust the ingredients in this recipe in proportion to that.

Pumpkin soup

It’s a mildly-flavored soup that goes well with sandwiches.

If you’re carving four or more pumpkins, you’ve got a full meal left over in your carvings.

You can add meat, croutons, or other crunchies to further improve the soup; a dollop of cream or yogurt; and/or some sliced green onion or herb.

It is, to me at least, more than a bit weird eating a soup made of fake body parts, even, or especially, fake body parts from a fake supernatural creature. Jack-o-lanterns are supposed to protect the home they’re placed outside of. Do they resent my feasting on their senses? Will this turn them against me? Will they become the evil spirt they’re supposed to drive away?

I survived last year, but if you don’t see any blog posts after October 31, invest in holy water and crucifixes. To quote many a comic book character or movie character, “horror movies start this way.”

This recipe is a modified version of Cream of Pumpkin Soup from the Southern Living Holiday Cookbook.

October 20, 2021: Cream of coconut jack-o-lantern soup
Jack-o-lantern pair

Double the pumpkins, double the body parts.

This is how cereal killers are born: baking the leftover body parts of my Hallowe’en jack-o-lantern worked so well in 2019 that I decided to carve two pumpkins in 2020.

That meant I had two one-cup (or half-pound) pumpkin recipes to try out. The first, a pumpkin cookie from the Better Homes & Gardens Homemade Cookies book, was fine but nothing to blog about. Partly it’s my own preferences—I prefer crispier or chewier cookies, and this was a standard sort of light, fluffy drop cookie. I was a little disappointed, though: this has otherwise been a very good cookbook.

My original plan was to use the other half of the pumpkin to make last year’s soup. I don’t buy pumpkin, normally, except for Hallowe’en, and I was looking forward to having this soup again. But while browsing through Carole Clements’s Gourmet Soup Book I saw a recipe for “Pumpkin and Coconut Soup”. It looked like a lot of work—it required milking and grating a fresh coconut—but the soup itself looked very, very good. This is a great book that I don’t use often enough, and this looked like an opportunity to try another recipe from it.

Being lazy, I heavily modified her recipe to use ingredients I already had on hand—including jettisoning the fresh coconut in favor of pre-shredded dry coconut and canned coconut milk from a local Indian supermarket. And then cut the recipe back to fit a half pound of pumpkin instead of the 1-¾ pounds her recipe requires. Instead of a bouquet garni, I just added the spices directly, even further simplifying it.

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