“You have to really live life.. and your grandmother did” – Enid Shapiro
This past Friday, my always loving, fiercely independent, purple wearing grandmother, Nanny, passed away at the age of eighty-six. She lived a long impassioned life of love and adventure, accomplishment, and family. She was a strong-willed modern woman and she was and remains to be a light.
I wasn’t sure how or if I really wanted to breech the topic of loss on In My Bowl- a concept I’m still unsure of, an emotion that hits in full force yet feels so incomprehensible. So much of In My Bowl is exclusively influenced by my life, my mood, what I find important and noteworthy, because I want to inspire, but because grief is such a deeply personal entity I wasn’t and am still not sure I have the right or lifelong insight to throw in my two cents. Living in these days of mourning, driving up to Massachusetts to be with my family, celebrating, remembering, and burying my grandmother, I couldn’t not mention the deep impact I noticed food, more so then anything, had on my mother and her sibling’s grief process. Caught in grief’s dream world of complete situational helplessness, my mother and her siblings found a sense of control, strength, and calm in their mother’s mealtime favorites. Surrounding themselves with tangible items – an almost purposefully burnt pot roast, chocolates, and her beloved animal crackers- with their overwhelmingly familiar and memory evoking smells and tastes, somehow made my grandmother present, lessening the severity of her loss, keeping her close to them. Her distain for and lack of any cooking skill, matched by her love of the family meal and communal table was present and encompassing – I think she would have been so proud to have so much of her family together in one room, exhausted, manically happy, finding peace. She loved and was so shamelessly loved in return.
Inspired by the communal table and the sentiment of family tradition, I’m honored to share a veganized adaptation of a recipe near and dear to my husband Andrew and his family, his mother Mimi’s ‘secret recipe’ Pumpkin Bread – the centerpiece and legend of his family’s gatherings. Made with protein rich chia, warming cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, and an abundance of pumpkin, this unmistakably autumnal loaf is not only perfectly moist, simple, and delightfully sweet, but a must make addition to any holiday menu. I serve Mimi’s vegan pumpkin bread fresh from the oven topped with a big scoop of almond vanilla ice cream or as a particularly special breakfast with a piping mug of black coffee.
Mimi’s Pumpkin Bread [makes 2 large loaves, 24 slices]
1 ¾ cups filtered water, divided
¼ cup chia seeds
3 cups coconut sugar
1 cup coconut oil
1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
2 cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, rack in the middle.
In a small bowl whisk ¾ cup water and chia seeds until just combined, then place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, or until it forms a gel-like consistency. In a large, whisk together chia mixture, coconut sugar, coconut oil, and pumpkin until well combined. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda, and spices. Alternating with the remaining 1 cup water, gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring gently with a wooden spoon until just combined. Evenly transfer batter into 2 parchment lined loaf tins (about 9 x 5) and bake for 80-90 minutes, or until loaves are cooked through. Remove from heat, allow loaves to cool to room temperature, slice & serve.
Nutritional Information [per slice]
250 Calories, 40g Carbohydrates, 10g Fat, 2.8g Protein, 3g Fiber, 24.8g Sugar