Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween, such an American holiday

     The kids have been disappointed to not get to dress up and trick or treat while they are here, and they asked if there was any way that we could carve a pumpkin.  I told them that we would look for one but that since pumpkins were grown for eating here, not for carving, we might not be able to find an appropriate one (either in size or price).  We've been seeing them here and there, but mostly they've been out of our price range or discolored and small.  Today, we went to the market with a mission:  search out a pumpkin!
     After not too much searching, Kate spotted a fruitière who had a few whole pumpkins available.  The price was not too crazy, so we walked over and, after asking if they could touch the produce, I let the kids decide which of the five had the best carving face.
      The fruitière tried to point us to a small, squat, pumpkin that she declared perfect for Halloween. Clearly she has never carved a pumpkin. No, no. We need that big one. Yes. That one.  She weighed it and said "It's ten kilos..." clearly expecting that I would balk at the price and decide that her attempt to assist me by pointing us to the small pumpkin was far better judgment.  Of course, it may have been, but I nodded acceptance and pulled out my wallet.  (Compared to bags of candy and costumes, one large pumpkin isn't that big of an investment.)
     She gave it to us after making quite a show of how heavy it was and how it was difficult to pass over.  I suspect that was less about the weight of the pumpkin than the fact that she knows that we are going to cut a face in it, throw a candle in, light it up, and then throw this perfectly good pumpkin away.  Of course we are going to do that!  I expect we will have a good time doing it, even if we have to use an electric knife -- or maybe especially if we have to use an electric knife.  However, the fruitière's suspicion of our motives made me realize that Americans do indeed waste a great deal compared to other people, in contexts that I never even think about it.

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