15: I’ve Got That Tupper Feeling

15: I’ve Got That Tupper Feeling

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love

I’ve Got That Tupper Feeling

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.

~Oscar Wilde

While other kids my age were listening to Disney songs, the songs I knew by heart were Tupperware jingles. My mom was a “Tupperware Lady” throughout my childhood. As a child, I often despised Tupperware and what it represented. Having a mother who sold Tupperware meant she was gone most weeknights holding parties. She drove a wood-paneled station wagon, sang corny Tupperware jingles and talked Tupperware and food freshness — all the time. While other kids were picking out cool themed lunchboxes or were able to carry a brown bag that could be thrown away to allow for more playground time, I was given the Tupperware lunchbox complete with sandwich holder and mini cup. That cup, as I remember, barely held a sip of juice. I hated that lunchbox!

Our meals were created from recipes she learned in the Tupperware training classes or newsletters. We were the guinea pigs... testing the recipes prior to the parties so she could demonstrate the containers. Casseroles with cream soup or Jell-O molds were a constant menu item. Homemade play dough was made from kitchen ingredients and ended up an ugly color because the food coloring ran together. As each holiday rolled around there was always the kooky themed recipe such as Dinner in a Pumpkin.

As my teen years approached, I made some crazy affirmations: I vowed I would never cook with cream soup, never drive a station wagon and never, ever have a piece of Tupperware in my house. The years passed quickly and I believed I was on the path to keeping my vows.

Then... I moved out, bought a house of my own, got married and started a family. Before I knew it I was cooking meals with cream soup and had multiple cupboards containing Tupperware and matching lids. As if all of this was not bad enough, when my son’s first Halloween rolled around, I didn’t even think twice. I started shopping for the ingredients for Dinner in a Pumpkin!

As an adult working to help support my family I realized that my mom being gone at night and holding Tupperware parties was not necessarily something she wanted to do, but rather something she had to do to help support her family. Sure it seemed to me she loved her job and all things Tupperware, but selling Tupperware afforded my sisters and me ballet lessons, softball, family vacations, birthday parties and the latest fashions. Through food containers, recipes to demonstrate them, and many nights out earning a living, she showed us how much she loved us.

I think back now to my childhood and all the things Tupperware made possible for us and I am grateful that my mom worked so hard. As a busy mom myself, many of my recipes have cream soup in them, but my favorite recipe comes around once a year when, to my son’s horror, I can hollow out the pumpkin and sing, “I’ve got that Tupper Feeling.”

Beef Dinner in a Pumpkin

2 lb. lean hamburger

1 (8-12”) diameter fresh pumpkin

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

12 small mushrooms, sliced

1 medium bell pepper

1 1/4 cup uncooked rice

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

5 tablespoons butter

1 can stewed tomatoes

2 cups beef broth

1/4 cup grated Cheddar or Longhorn cheese

Parsley sprigs

8 to 12 cherry tomatoes

Wash the pumpkin and cut the top stem out to create a lid. Scoop out the seeds and stringy fibers.

Melt two tablespoons of the butter. Take a plastic sandwich bag and dip it into the melted butter to grease the inside of the pumpkin. Turn the pumpkin on its side and sprinkle inside with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Sauté onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, and garlic in the remaining 3 tablespoons butter.

Add the 2 pounds lean hamburger, brown, and drain.

Then add the rice and stir until thoroughly mixed.

Add the remaining salt and pepper, the stewed tomatoes, and the beef broth and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes then fill the pumpkin with this mixture.

Replace the pumpkin lid and place the pumpkin in a shallow greased baking pan. Bake approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Pumpkin is ready when tender and should remain firm enough to hold the filling without danger of collapsing.

If necessary, more beef broth can be added.

When baked, remove from the oven, lift lid and sprinkle inside with the 1/4 cup cheese.

Return pumpkin to oven without lid until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, replace lid and garnish around the bottom of the pumpkin with fresh parsley and cherry tomatoes. Serve from the pumpkin, scraping some of the pulp into each serving.

~D’ette Corona

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