Share House裡沒攪拌機，由起子習慣用湯匙把煮軟了的南瓜壓爛，卻壓不均，湯裡總是浮著幾塊南瓜粒。陽太進市內唸大學後便住進這家Share House，在這裡認識了同是大學生的由起子，自由起子手上接到第一碗現煮的南瓜湯。他一直以為罐頭以外的南瓜湯都是這樣浮著一塊塊南瓜粒的，直到後來談戀愛了，兼職賺到錢帶女朋友上餐廳，才知道，那其實是由起子的特色。
5. 倒入豆乳，分量隨意；6. 豆乳煮滾後，用攪拌機將所有食料打成糊狀；
“I’ve made some pumpkin soup.”
“Sure.” upon hearing Hatuta’s reply, Yukiko pushes open the door and enters.
Knocking on Hatuta’s door has become an annual post-Halloween ritual of Yukiko. The two live in the same shared house where the landlord would prepare a small pumpkin as a Halloween gift for every tenant. While the crowd gather in the living room and happily carve their jack-o’-lanterns together, Yukiko would secretly stay in her room whole night holding the pumpkin. The day after, she would go to the open kitchen in the living room and prepare her pumpkin soup in front of the bunch of jack-o’-lanterns.
“It’d be such a waste not to eat those pumpkins.” Yukiko puts down the soup on Hatuta’s wobbly coffee table, before randomly picking up a flyer from the floor to fold it up and wedge under one of the legs to stabilize the table. She turns off the classical music playing on the record player, puts on her favorite Bossa Nova record, and then simply leans on the bed.
“Your blanket smells rather musty, why don’t you air it out under the sun?” asks Yukiko.
“There’s no balcony on the first floor.” Hatuta takes a sip of the soup and munches on the mushy pumpkin flesh.
Since there’s no blender in the shared house, Yukiko would use a spoon to mash up the pumpkin flesh after they get cooked soft. There’re always some pieces of pumpkin flesh floating around as she cannot mash it evenly simply by using a spoon. Hatuta started living in the shared house ever since he moved to the city for college, and there he met Yukiko, who was also a college student. Yukiko’s pumpkin soup gave him an impression that freshly-made pumpkin soup should always have pieces of pumpkin flesh swimming around; it was only until he started to make money from part-time jobs and brought his girlfriend to a restaurant, then he realized that was actually Yukiko’s signature way of making this soup.
“You can air out the blanket in my room.” Yukiko takes a deep sniff of the blanket, which exudes a sweet smell of pumpkin soup as well as a mild musty smell. The sweet smell brought by her, and the musty smell comes from him, she thinks to herself, the sweetness and the mustiness together is a joined smell of the two of them.
Hatuta leans on the rim of the bed with his back facing her. Yukiko can only hear the sound of his spoon clanking against the ceramic bowl, without seeing any of his expression.
“Don’t you need to have a Skype call with your boyfriend in New York at this time of the day?”, says Hatuta as he stirs the soup in this ramen bowl. Why does Yukiko always need to give such a big portion?
“We had a fight.” Yukiko swings her finger in the air to the rhythm of the music, imagines it would draw beams in rainbow colors, “Hatuta, how long have we known each other?”
“Perhaps five years? I have graduated for almost one year now.”
Yukiko stares at her finger flying in the air. “Are you still thinking of moving out?” She rests her finger on a lightbulb, leaving the fingertip glowing with a ring of light like an eclipse. “Didn’t you talk about moving to a bigger place once you found a job after graduation? You said you would ask me to move in too.”
The iron spoon keeps on clanking for a good while before Hatuta says, “Did I say something like this?” The spoon clanks again.
The music goes to a stop and Yukiko jumps out of his bed. “Your room stinks, I’m heading back. Just put the bowl outside of my room when you’re done.”
“Alright.” Hatuta watches as Yukiko’s back disappears from his sight. He can hear her footsteps walking on the stairs, the sound fades away slowly.
The next morning, Yukiko pulls open the door to find the ramen bowl standing right in front. Underneath the bowl is a small note, that reads, “ I accidently left the soup overnight and only got to finish it this morning. Perhaps it rested too long and became thick, the texture was a bit different. It still tasted pretty good, but it’s no longer the same.”
½ Pumpkin (around 300g), ¼ Onion, Water, Soy milk
A pinch of salt and pepper
1. Finely chop the onion and dice up the pumpkin flesh.
2. Caramelise the onion.
3. Add pumpkin. Pour in water until it covers the bottom of the pot.
4. Cook pumpkin until soft, add extra amount of water when needed.
5. Pour in flexible amount of soy milk depending on personal preference.
6. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and use a blender to blend until smooth.
7. Add extra soy milk to bring the soup to desired thickness.
8. Bring the soup to a simmer, season to taste with salt and pepper. Ready to serve.