Monthly Haiku Corner – August

hollow thoughts
always thinking of Halloween
pumpkin dreams

Haiku of the Week

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*revised photo 11/12

 

 

Haiku of the Week

fading smile
goodbyes are never easy
old friend

Sinister Saturdays – Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

Happy National Pumpkin Day!

Pumpkins are the most important element of the Halloween season. It is the symbol of Halloween itself. Pumpkin desserts have been getting a bad rap lately because of pricey, syrupy pumpkin spice drinks served at the coffee place that shall not be named, but pumpkins themselves are quite healthy, being high in potassium, vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. So, remember to look up some creative ways to use leftover parts of your carved pumpkin this weekend.

Cooking Classy knows the perfect way to end the Halloween season with this fangtastic recipe for Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars.

pumpkin_pie_crumb_bars13.

Ingredients (12 servings)

  • 1 1/4 cups (176g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (116g) quick oats (old fashioned works too)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (105g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110g) packed light-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (55g) packed-light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (296g) canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup (85ml) evaporated milk or half and half
  • Sweetened whipped cream and cinnamon , for serving (optional)

For the full recipe and baking instructions, please go here: https://www.cookingclassy.com/pumpkin-pie-crumb-bars/

 

Spice up your Thanksgiving by serving these crumb bars instead of boring ole pumpkin pie. Your family will thank you.

A Brief History of the Jack-o’-Lantern

People have been carving vegetables into lanterns since the dawn of time. The Maori people used gourds for lights, over 700 years ago. It’s believed the making of jack-o’-lanterns began in Ireland in 1600s, when they used turnips and gourds to hollow out to use for lantern during Halloween in Ireland and Scotland, sometimes carving out grotesque faces to frighten people. 

 

The lanterns represented spirits and were used to ward off evil or lost spirits. Sometimes people put them on the windowsills to keep harmful spirits away from the home. Once Christianity took firm hold in the region and Halloween combined with the Christian observances of All Saints’ Day on November 1 and All Souls’ Day on November 2, jack-o’-lanterns were lit in remembrance of Christian souls in purgatory.

The term Jack-o’-Lantern began showing up in print in the early 1800s, when Irish newspapers began printing stories telling of carved gourd lanterns and information on local gourd carving competitions. But it wasn’t until 1866, that the first recorded association between a carved pumpkin and Halloween would show up in an edition of The Daily News in Kingston, Ontario.

turnip jol

Today’s jack-o’-lanterns have evolved into works of art.  No longer content with simple faces, pumpkin carving has become big business with the sale of tools and artistic guides to help amateurs and home haunters create their own elaborately designed pumpkins, to televised competitions and special appearances by professional carvers, who enjoy D-List celebrity status.

Will-o’-the-Wisp

Jack-o’-Lanterns were once associated with the term ‘will-o’-the-wisp’ or ‘ignis fatuus’, the Medieval Latin for “fool’s fire”. A will-o’-the-wisp was thought to be a ghostly light or orb seen by travelers during the night, particularly near bogs, swamps, or marshes. The phenomenon was said be supernatural, brought on by ghosts, fairies, or other elemental spirits.

330px-Will-o-the-wisp_and_snake_by_Hermann_Hendrich_1823
Will-o-the-wisp_and_snake_by_Hermann_Hendrich_1823

A tale behind the term refers to a wicked blacksmith who was turned away at the pearly gates by St. Peter. He was given a second chance to redeem himself but the blacksmith failed to change his evil ways and was then cursed to wander the earth for eternity. The Devil was impressed by the blacksmith’s antics and decided to give him a single burning coal to keep him warm, which he used to lure foolish travelers into the marshes instead.

The Story of Stingy Jack

In addition to the will-o’-the-wisp myth, no folklore associated with jack-o’-lanterns are quite as memorable as the story of Stingy Jack, a devilish man, so evil, the real Satan paid him a visit to see what all the hoopla was about. The witty Jack was a shrewd deceiver, a master manipulator and a nasty drunkard, who managed to trick Satan, not once but twice. The first time, he convinced the devil to go drinking with him. Afterward, being too stingy to pay, Jack told the Devil to turn into a coin so he can pay the bill. Once the Devil did so, Jack put the coin in his pocket along with a silver cross, trapping Satan until he agreed to spare Jack’s soul for ten years.  The Devil agree and off Jack went.

by surrounding the devil with crosses to trap him until he agreed to spare Jack’s soul. Once Jack finally died from drink, he was refused entrance into heaven for his lifetime of sin and denied entrance into hell per his previous agreement with Satan. Satan cast the doomed soul out to wander the world for eternity, with only a single ember, which Jack inserted into a hollowed turnip to light his way. He became known as Jack of the Lantern, and eventually, Jack-o’-Lantern.

stingy_jack_by_jovan_ukropina
stingy_jack_by_jovan_ukropina

Happy Caturday!

Don’t tell Disney Sr. Designer Caley Hicks that Halloween can’t be cute because there will be cute!  If you’re looking for new wallpaper or love to sew, you’re gonna fall in love with Caley Hick’s designs. Personally, I’m waiting for the day that she turns her boo-tiful art into wrapping paper!

Caley Hicks
Happy Halloween ©Caley Hicks

To view more of Caley Hick’s art, please visit her website here: https://caleyhicks.myportfolio.com/

Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThereWillBeCute?

Wicked Art Wednesdays – Sam Heimer

Happy October!  Kicking off Wicked Art Wednesdays this Halloween season with illustrator, designer, and master horror artist, Sam Heimer, who credits Edward Gorey, H.P. Lovecraft, and Alfred Hitchcock, among others, as early influences on his work. His art invokes the Halloween spirit with scenes of trick-or-treaters, skeletons, pumpkins, classic movie monsters, aliens, and Victorian and Steampunk themes, as well as film noir.

 

heartshow8
©Sam Heimer

Artist: Sam Heimer
Where to Purchase Goods: Etsy shop, horror conventions, gallery shows, and special events
Website: https://samheimer.wordpress.com/ and https://www.etsy.com/market/sam_heimer 
Social Media: https://www.instagram.com/sam_heimer/

Why we love them: Chances are you’ve come across Sam Heimer’s art before and a big part of the reason is he still takes custom orders. No, seriously, I’m not sure if you all understand how big an opportunity that is. From magazines to book covers, t-shirts to beer cans, Sam Heimer’s work is everywhere and Halloween fans are better for it. He smoothly blends horror with whimsical trick-or-treat scenes, reminding us just how thin the veil between innocence and evil is on Halloween night. If terrifying could be cute, it would be a Sam Heimer piece. 

Recipe of the Month – Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin Hand Pies

Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins…you may have noticed pumpkins and Halloween merchandise slowly filling up the aisles of our favorite stores. Soon, my friends, soon!

While Fall doesn’t officially start until September 23, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the plentiful, wondrous bounty of autumn today.  The folks over at Acorns & Custard feel us, and I found a delicious Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin Hand Pie recipe, to go along with our pumpkin spice lattes. Bring on the gourds!

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Photo ©Acorns&Custard

Continue reading “Recipe of the Month – Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin Hand Pies”

The Most Famous Pumpkin Patch Photo in the World

Joel Sternfeld McLean Virginia December 1978
McLean, Virginia, December 1978, ©Joel Sternfeld

blazing orange fire
autumn spoils on the ground
more to the story

I dedicate today’s blog in honor of World Photography Day.

I was immediately spellbound by the imagery of this photo that I stumbled upon over a year ago. A few more clicks led me to a fascinating story about photographer Joel Sternfeld, who one day, came upon this fiery scene in McLean, W. Virginia, and snapped the now-iconic photo.

In the photo, we see a fireman shopping for a pumpkin, while a farmhouse burns in the background, a few hundred yards away. In his arms, the fireman clutches his prize, presumably the best of the bunch. In the foreground, dozens of rotting pumpkins spoil and wither away, in what we could consider, Autumn’s last kiss. Amongst the barren trees, the burning farmhouse roof rages like a fiery inferno, yet, the fireman seems undeterred. On this day, the hero’s quest is not put out a fire, but to pick out a pumpkin.

The photo simply titled “McLean, Virginia; December 1978” was first published for Life Magazine in Fall of 1988. It would later serve as the cover for his 1994 book American Prospects, a visual color chronicle of the life and landscapes of America during in 1980s. For many years, the photo floated around the American consciousness, via magazines and journals, without context. When taken at face value, the photo of an American fireman ignoring his duty to peruse a pumpkin patch is quite flabbergasting, some people thought it so incredulous, they believed the photo was staged.

It was neither.

The truth is, the farmhouse fire was a controlled training exercise and the fireman was on a break. That is the scene that Joel Sternfeld photographed while driving cross-country in his VW campervan, under a Guggenheim Fellowship, looking for America’s truth. He kept mum on the details for decades, until opening up for 2004 interview on photography for the Guardian. In the interview, Sternfeld argues photographers are their own authors, capable of manipulations. They can turn the camera at different angles or leave out parts entirely, and tell whatever story they want to tell. Photography has always been about interpretation. That’s what makes it art. In the article, Sternfeld says,

“No individual photo explains anything. That’s what makes photography such a wonderful and problematic medium. It is the photographer’s job to get this medium to say what you need it to say. Because photography has a certain verisimilitude, it has gained a currency as truthful – but photographs have always been convincing lies.”

For years, the worldwide public has relied on pictures to be evidence and visual aids in understanding. A picture says a thousand words.  But what or whose truth are we seeing?

Haiku of the Week

fresh pumpkin
halloween is coming soon
smiles return