I’ve been dying for autumn to arrive since about mid-June. In terms of weather, the past summer in Blacksburg was horrible. It was so hot, humid and miserable that you could hardly stand to be outside, let alone enjoy it. Fast-forward to September. The first few days I spent in Germany were cold and wet, but it has been sunny, warm and clear ever since. I could be outside and enjoy the sunshine and not want to die. Still, fall is my favorite season. I have been hearing my colleagues talk about pumpkin soup and fall break, but with the warm weather and noticeable lack of Steelers football, how could I get properly pumped up for autumn?
The answer, it turns out, is food. I love pumpkin. The bakery near my apartment kept running out of their highly-advertised pumpkin bread, Kürbis-Stuten, in the morning before I could get there. As a matter of fact, I was surprised to see the sign for it at all. I don’t remember pumpkin being popular the first time I was in Germany, and most certainly not for sweet items. Maybe Halloween’s rising popularity is to blame, maybe it’s regional, or perhaps it’s the proliferation of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, but Germany seems to have been bitten by the pumpkin bug.
I wanted in on the German pumpkin baked goods action, and yesterday, I finally got a loaf of Kürbis-Stuten. All my American readers are probably picturing US-style pumpkin bread, which is dense, sweet, cake-y and delicious. Kürbis-Stuten is an airy, white loaf with flecks of pumpkin in it. It is only lightly sweet, with a delicate pumpkin flavor. I put the thinnest smear of Nutella on it, so as not overwhelm it, and meine Gute, is it wonderful. I would like to claim that I didn’t eat 5 slices for dinner, but that would be a lie. Pumpkin bread with Nutella will be my undoing.
I believe I triggered an overnight change in the seasons, as I woke up to clouds today. When I opened my front door, it was misty and the smell of wet leaves and dirt hung in the air. It was wonderful. On the way home, someone had lit a fire, adding a hint of wood smoke to the scent. The amazing weather inspired to make a fall version of one of my favorite comfort foods: Thai green curry with pumpkin. I love the creamy texture and the mix of spicy and sweet. Mostly, though, I love that George and I learned to prepare this dish together and make it all the time. Making it here in Germany while he and I chatted on Google chat allowed me to inject some of our life into my life.
Herzlich Willkommen, Herbst.