It seems a while ago now, but the weekend before Halloween we placed old newspaper down on the kitchen floor and set about gutting our Halloween pumpkin. Still in his pajamas, but covered by an apron, Mikey began pulling out seeds by the handful and placing them carefully in a bowl beside him.
“They’re slimy, I don’t want to eat them.”
I assured him that we wouldn’t be eating the seeds straight from the inside of the pumpkin, when they were still sticky. He seemed placated by the answer and continued with what he was doing.
When each last seed was scraped out from the interior of the pumpkin, he handed me the bowl. I asked him to draw the face that he would like me to help him carve into the pumpkin on a piece of paper first. His hands were drawing scary pumpkin faces on paper, but his eyes followed me while I washed the seeds and set them out to dry.
“Can we eat them now?”
After the pumpkin had been carved, and I had finished drying and shelling the seeds, I set the oven to preheat. Mikey mixed the ingredients for me and then mixed in the seeds. We spread the entire mixture onto a baking sheet and put it in the oven to bake.
Mikey stood in the kitchen studying both the stove and the kitchen timer in turn while the pumpkin seeds cooked. He counted down the last of the numbers until the timer went off. He yelled, running back and forth in the kitchen, “Mummy it’s ready! Mummy it’s ready! I want to eat them now!”
I open up the oven, only to see that the seeds had stuck themselves fast to the baking sheet. I double checked the recipe and realised I had used the wrong kind of sugar. Perhaps that’s why they had stuck. I used a spatula to scrape off about a third of them, but the rest stayed on the pan.
Later, after the pan had cooled, Mikey sat in the living room watching cartoons. He had a kitchen towel on his lap with the baking sheet on top and was carefully picking off each stuck seed, one by one, and popping it into his mouth.
Mid-chew he announced loudly, so that I could hear him from where I was cleaning up in the kitchen, “Mummy, I like making stuck pumpkin seeds.”
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