Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Saga of the one through three

So ever since my friend Nina mentioned going to Starbucks at the end of the week for a pumpkin muffin, I've been grappling with the craving for one myself. Of course, being too cheap to walk down the street to my own local Starbucks to check and see if they have any pumpkin-flavoured confections, I've determined to try and make my own again.

I have to add, in the spirit of confession, that I'm also a bit of a snob about my own pumpkin muffins. I got the recipe from my mom and have been making them for years now - and I'd like to think that they're pretty darn spectacular as pumpkin muffins go! With this determination it was time to set off in quest of the key ingredient: pumpkin puree.

Normally, this wouldn't be a quest. Normally, I would have skipped down to Macey's or Lowe's, snagged a can of the Libby's pumpkin puree, and skipped merrily back to my house or the dorms back on campus, content in my knowledge that with the pumpkin in hand tasty muffins were only 35 minutes away from consumption. Alas, in London, things are not so easy. Last year, living up in Hampstead, the only reason I was able to make pumpkin muffins once was because some kindly and forgetful soul from the last student group had left a can of the stuff sitting in the communal pantry. I pounced. Upon making the discovery, I claimed it for my own, purchased the requisite spices and other ingredients, and dashed back from Morrison's to make a double batch of muffins and share the wealth with the rest of my housemates. However, this year has shown that a bit more persistence is necessary, and I am now in the midst of practically Arthurian efforts, because autumn isn't really complete without some form of pumpkin-flavoured goodies.

Part The First:
My craving for pumpkin still unsatisfied and unabated after two days, I determined to do some internet research a la Google to see if anyone had an idea on where to purchase pumpkin puree here in the UK. Several blogs and Yahoo Answers swore to me in all earnestness that such a commodity was available at Waitrose. Brilliance! If I had a shiny white steed I would have spurred him onwards towards the grocery store. As it was, I donned my Wellies and spurred myself down the street and through the winding aisles of my local Waitrose in gleeful - if premature - anticipation of the autumnal treats to come. Tragically, the canned fruit section (which took up less space than my bunk bed) was both dismally small and pumpkin-less. That didn't stop me from scanning the shelves once, twice, and thrice over in the hope that I'd simply missed my quarry, but to no avail. I returned home defeated.

Part The Second:
My first attempt thwarted, it was time to express my frustration in the hope that it would bring sympathy, or even further illumination for the next stage of my journey. Yes, that meant a Facebook status post. What else could I do? I was out of obvious options at this point - clearly I needed a push in the right direction from someone wiser and more experienced in a hunt of this nature. And who should come to my rescue but Somelea! She told me that there was a Canadian food store in Covent Garden which was where she had purchased some pumpkin puree last year for a similar endeavour. I quickly Googled the store and discovered its location. The map now saved in my iPod, I resolved to set off on the morrow in the direction of Covent Garden and - hopefully - some North American speciality foods.

Part The Third:
Today I set off for Covent Garden. I decided to go on foot since I had nothing better to do for the next 2.5 hours, so I might as well get in a little exercise and walk. My directions were flawless and I got to the Canadian/Australian food store without a hitch. I found Aunt Jemima maple syrup (!) and even found the spot on the shelves where the blessed Holy Grail of dessert ingredients was said to reside. Nothing! I bought a Skol bar to console myself and took that and my maple syrup (or should I more accurately say my "maple-flavoured pancake syrup) to the till. I asked the girl at the counter if she knew when they'd be getting more tinned pumpkin and she told me that it was on order and due to arrive next week. Dampened, but not defeated, I walked back home for lunch and some long-overdue hair-straightening (and a surprise viewing of Hercules with Cheryl). Part The Fourth will continue next week when I return full of expectation to snag myself some pumpkin. I'll be ready this time.

1 comment:

  1. I have even higher hopes for these muffins when so much effort has been made to procure the right ingredients! They must be amazing indeed :-)

    PS I have some US friends here in the ward and I know they've done thanksgiving before - I'll ask where they got their pumpkin-related items...