Pumpkin season かぼちゃの季節

Pumpkins at a supermarket.スーパーのかぼちゃコーナー
      ”Hokkaido” pumpkin. I put a full sized fork next to it to demonstrate size.「Hokkaido」。大きさの比較のため食事用フォークを置きました

Now it is pumpkin season. At supermarkets in Vienna many different pumpkins can be seen. From very large ones to small ones are decorated in many colours and sizes. It is entertaining and humorous to watch.

I think what I as Japanese imagine in terms of taste and what local people do could be quite different. Usually in Japan, pumpkin dishes have a very sumptuous taste which is more dense and sweet than Austrian cuisine. A typical pumpkin dish, which my grandmother always prepared, is cooked and sweet. Not only pumpkins, my grandmother also cooked bean dishes with a sweet taste. As a child, such a sweet taste accompanying rice was not something I liked. Now however I enjoy such a taste and I miss it a lot. If one wanted to create the same taste with local pumpkins, one would not succeed. Local pumpkins are much harder and have a more neutral taste. Starting some years ago, a type of pumpkin named “Hokkaido” has been available in Austria. Hokkaido is one of the Japanese main islands. I do not know whether there is a relationship between those pumpkins and the island but I had hoped the taste would be similar to Japanese pumpkins. I tried to prepare it Japanese style but unfortunately just like all other available pumpkins in Austria, the taste did not turn out the way I intended. Nevertheless recently I bought a “Hokkaido” pumpkin and prepared it in different ways as salad, soup and stir-fry and enjoyed it.

By the way, today is Halloween. When I started living in Austria, there was no such thing here. But around the turn of the millennium this custom was slowly adopted here as well. Of course at Halloween pumpkins cannot be missing. This year however due to the Coronavirus, the Austrian government is asking people not to participate in Halloween parties. The government is already preparing the announcement of stricter measures. This year, the faces of Halloween pumpkin decorations, to my eyes appear not to be smiling…




Pictures by Yuka Simeno, October 2020 in Vienna