Spreading love with pumpkin bread


As a child, I was eager to go to my aunt’s house. Whenever I entered, I was always immediately hit with the sense of home. I moved to different states and even different houses in the same state nine times as a child. Luckily for me though, my aunt’s house stayed a constant home for me. It has always been that place for me, where I feel safest with all of my family surrounding me.

I traveled from wherever I was at the time to my Aunt Jenn’s house in Carlsbad, California every November, around Thanksgiving time. I would escape the slightly windy air that came from the nearby Pacific Ocean by entering the house.

Of course I looked forward to seeing all of my extended family that I did not get to see very often, but I also looked forward to the pumpkin bread. Not only did I love the food itself, but the best part was the tradition around it.

My brother, cousin, and I would help in the making of the bread. We gathered in her average-sized kitchen that looked out onto the green grass and pool in the backyard and started out getting out all of the ingredients. Until recently, I was too young to participate, except for pouring the already measured out ingredients into the bowls, so I mainly stood idly by.

I remember one specific night when I was around 7, I licked the orange-ish dough from the spoon. I stuck my tongue out in disgust because bread dough does not taste very good, even when it is mixed with cinnamon and pumpkin.

After the dough was made, it was placed into dozens of pans and then they were put into the oven. The smell that spread from the oven to the whole house was mouth-watering. It smelled exactly as it sounds, a perfect blend of pumpkin, cinnamon, and sugar.

When the timer beeped, all of the kids were the first to crowd around the oven, even though we were always told we had to wait. The loaves of bread were placed to the side to cool, and then they were wrapped.

My aunt put the ones for our family aside, and wrapped the rest in red Saran Wrap. She even put bows on them, the ones you get at Christmas time.

After it was all done, my cousin and I would run throughout the neighborhood carrying multiple loaves each, delivering them to the neighbors. They always expected the bread around this time, and they were looking forward to delivery day. That’s the thing about my Aunt Jenn’s pumpkin bread, the happiness it brought was contagious.