Pumpkin Chutney


The other day, I had lunch with a friend who I’ve not seen in years – three, to be exact – even though we live just 10 minutes away from each other. We’d both been through a lot since our last rendez-vous, but we spent our time talking less about our struggles than what we were happy about.  We also realized that sitting outside on November 17, the third Thursday of November and the annual release day of the Beaujolais Nouveau (which we both ordered), and reconnecting with a girlfriend was something to be very thankful for.

I’ve not been posting as often as I’d like because I’ve been so overwhelmed with all that’s going on in my life and in the lives of those around me. But over lunch last week, inspired by my friend Lucy, I decided to start making a list of the things that I’m thankful for each day, no matter now small or seemingly insignificant.

So far today, my list looks like this:

  1. My morning coffee, made from freshly ground beans.
  2. A real shower (not one using the handheld sprayer, which doesn’t count) after I successfully re-Superglued the attachment to the wall last night.
  3. Rosedog, who always wakes me up with her wet nose against mine and a kiss.
  4. The pot of black beans on the stove.
  5. The music of Bob Dylan, Rivers Cuomo, The Noisettes, Wilco, Portishead, The Velvet Underground, The Mavericks, The Decemberists, Amy Winehouse, and Nick Drake…which kept me singing and dancing in the kitchen as I chopped, mixed, and baked.
  6. Palmolive green dishwashing liquid.
  7. Philadelphia cream cheese for 1.99 at the stinky Franprix.
  8. Down pillows.

As I write this, I’m sitting at a café overlooking Boulevard de Clichy in Montmartre (#9), drinking a latte double (#10), and it’s another unseasonably warm November day (#11). In fact, I’m so comfy here, I think I’ll order another (#12).

I was hoping to be in Texas for Thanksgiving this year, but I’ve still got lots of work to wrap up before I go, so I’ve postponed my trip home until Christmas. I’m not sure what I’ll do this Thursday, but whatever I end up doing – or not doing – I’ll be on the lookout for what I can put on my list.

Here’s a recipe that I hope you’ll love as much as I do. It’ll work as a great side for the big day, or heaped on top of a turkey sandwich for the days after.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

Pumpkin Chutney

Makes 1 to 2 quarts

Adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe

  • 1 2 ½ to 3 pound pumpkin, peeled and seeded
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 Thai chile peppers (or 2 Habaneros), finely chopped
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (I use Quatre Epices in France)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar


Dice your pumpkin and toss it in a large stockpot with everything else. Give it a stir, cover, and turn the heat to medium-high. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let it simmer until the pumpkin is tender but not mushy. This’ll take about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how much pumpkin you’ve got. Let cool and refrigerate.