Foodie is in Central Florida, aware that stone crabs are just in season--yes, we had some the first night in a brief Gulf Coast romp--and also aware that Hurricane Wilma is twirling around trying to decide whether to slam the Yucatan Peninsula or Foodie and spouse. Oh well, we've had the stone crab, the she-crab soup, the blackened snapper ( rockfish?), the rock lobster tails. And noted that in a region dotted with lakes, one must be alligator-aware before putting a toe in one of them. ( We did not eat the gator on one menu, in a nod to the gator gods, because those lakes do look inviting...)
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the country, giant pumpkins are being weighed and measured. New Hampshire man Jim Beauchemin grew a 1314.8 pound beauty, no, it's not really a beauty to some eyes, more of a bizarrely obese swollen version of the orange squash. In August, Jim's production was gaining 35 pounds a day, in a gluttonous orgy of fish fertilizer and water guzzling.
"Extreme gardening" is gaining adherents at a fast clip, particularly among men. They dream of growing the biggest, most pumped up pumpkin ever......
Once the contests are over, some NH growers hollow out their pumpkins, jump inside, and float along the Piscataquog River in the Annual Pumpkin Regatta. Jim Beauchemin saved a puny 800 pound punkin for that effort. ( Foodie pictures punkin pie people carting away wagonsful of the insides of these babies, putting them to their proper use.) His winner will be carved into one of the nation's largest jack o' lanterns.
Look for a Pumpkin Festival near you, or, alternatively, a Stone Crab Festival--the one in Clearwater, FL, begins tomorrow.