Thank you Mr S. Croat: that is exactly how I feel about punkings [received Merkin pron.]. Mother used to serve them roasted, burned on all the edges: each forkful was an utterly revolting mouthful. The caremelised part, which forms a sort of indigestible husk, is bitter and the inside softness fibrously mushy, the combination of which makes each grudging mouthful an ordeal.
I have since invented Punking Soup, a culinary contrivance which renders this abundant curcurbacé palatable. Skin and steam the punking pieces. In the meantime, you will have prepared a broth from prime cuts of beef and tasty bones like ribs, with thyme, bayleaf, carrot, onion, some leek, coarse-ground black pepper, salt, a wodge of roasted garlic (do that before starting the broth) and have been extremely vigilant in observing the recommendation not to let it boil. You will have removed all the floating fat, scum and solids from the juice, and might have decided to add some aged brandy or, better yet, how about some Wild Turkey (just a shot)?
Mash the punking and carefully stir it into the broth, making sure that the mixture is fluid, but not thin. Serve in heated dishes with a glug of sour cream and a sprinkling of flat-leaf parsely. Some people add a grating of nutmeg, but only Merkins add cinamon to everything: so don't do that. Cinnamon only qualifies as an ingredient when sultanas, raisins or corinth raisins are mentioned in the list of ingredients.
Travel advisory: If travelling to the United States, British and French citizens are advised that the seasonal Hallowe'en feast is observed by serving, among other items, Punking Pie with tiny, multicoloured marshmallows on top. Travellers are advised to respond accordingly to invitations to participate in these events.