Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's Pumpkin Day! Let's Take Pumpkin Global!

You say Pumpkin, I say Squash. You say Zucca, and some of you may even say Calabaza! How ever you mash it, Pumpkin rules the world! Please indulge me while I take Pumpkin Day a bit global. You see, I've done so many traditional pumpkin posts since beginning this blog in 2007, quite frankly, I'd like to explore "a far."

The stewing of this exploration began when I visited a luscious post by Lena titled Steamed Pumpkin Kuih. I don't know why, but it just never occurred to me that Pumpkins were accessible in Asia. Fact is, those big orange spheres of the squash family have been global for years!

Let's begin in England. There are eateries in the United Kingdom that serve Thanksgiving Dinner on the same day as we do. I didn't know that. And I thought Thanksgiving was exclusively an American Holiday, here! here! Many restaurants, especially in London, host an All American Thanksgiving Dinner. I'm not sure what that might include, however, it would make sense that pumpkin may appear on the menu. Citizens of England were eating pumpkins long before the colonists ever landed on Plymouth Rock. They were quite "fashionable" to dine on until the late 18th century when they were tossed to the side by way of the less fortunate. One of the easiest ways to enjoy pumpkin in the "English" fashion is to cube it and toss it in with your regular ingredients the next time you prepare a Corned Beef Dinner. I believe the following recipe for Pumpkin Corned Beef Dinner "arrived" from "across the pond."

Pumpkin Corned Beef Dinner

Food historians believe, the pumpkins introduced to the colonist by the Native Americans, arrived in North America via Central America. When the European explorers arrived in the New Wold they found Native Americans eating all kinds of squashes, but pumpkins were their favorite. The colonists thought the pumpkins were a sort of giant melon. In a way, they were right. Pumpkins with all their tasty Vitamin A, belong to the botanical family called Cucurbitaceae which also includes cucumbers, gherkins and melons. Not only were they plentiful, they were versatile too and could be preserved for use during long cold winters. I read that at times when the barley crop failed, the colonists even used pumpkin for brewing beer! Punkin Ale is now brewed in southern Delaware.

Pumpkin has been a part of traditional Mexican food for many centuries. In fact, pumpkin seeds have been found in Mexico, which may be nearly 9,000 years old! Mexican pumpkin recipes include the popular pumpkin candy dulce de Calabasas, Mexican pumpkin soups and dishes where it is braised, stewed and even mashed and used as a topping for tostadas and as a taco filling! Pumpkin seeds, pepitas, are very popular in Mexican cooking. Seeds saved from carving out a jack-o'-latern can also be substituted. It's best to hull them, clean them, and roast them first:) Or, you may be able to find the green hulled variety used in Mexican cooking in your local supermarket or health food store. When you're ready, I found this recipe for Chicken Braised in Pumpkin Seed Mole Verde at, dare I say, the Food Network. I'm in a generous Food TV mood tonight, a new Chopped is on and one of the competing chefs is from Teller's in Islip, New York. My old "stomping" ground. :) I also found this recipe for Green Pipian. I hear it goes GREAT with Catfish! My contribution for cooking pumpkin in the Mexican style is harvested from The Art of Mexican Cooking by Jan Aaron and Georgine Sachs Salom; copyright 1965. Boy would I love to see this cooked up. Pumpkin, oranges, pudding, oh my; Calabaza, Pumpkin Pudding:

Calabaza | Pumpkin Pudding

From The Cooking of South-West France by Paula Wolfert, © 1983, we have Fried Pumpkin Slices; "Chips" de Potiron. My apologize to Paula Wolfert, I got a little bent out of shape when Chef Cafariella got Chopped!

Pumpkin Chutney has a nice sound to it but have you ever heard of Pumpkin Chakee? I hadn't either until I spied this recipe in The Complete Book of Curries by Harvey Day. (1966)

Pumpkin Chakee | Complete Book of Curries

A few years back, for Columbus Day, I shared a book titled Columbus Menu: Italian Cuisine after the First Voyage of Christopher Columbus by Stefano Milioni. It was published by the Italian Trade Commission in 1992 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus's first voyage. The book contains both the original Italian recipes and adapted recipes which utilize New World foods such as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, corn, beans, squash, turkey and cacao (chocolate). The book is not only a collection of recipes, it also includes a short history of each of these ingredients.

Squashes: The introduction of the New World's zucche and zucchini created less of a stir in Europe than other types of unfamiliar vegetables from the Americas, because some of their relatives had already been cultivated and regularly consumed in Europe for centuries. However, the newcomers were more attractive and much tastier...It should be noted, however, that the exact origin of the pumpkin and some other squashes is much disputed. Some experts say Europe acquired them millennia ago from an Asian homeland, while others insist that they originated in the New World... Pumpkin and zucchini only entered Italian cuisine after the seeds of Cucurbitaceae (the gourds) were brought to Europe from the New World and the plants began to be cultivated in Italian gardens. In the 16th century, Sienese botanist Pietro Andrea Mattioli observed, in discussing the cooking of pumpkin, that "it is the practice to eat it either boiled or fried in the pan or roasted. Boiled, it has little appeal in itself. When roasted, or fried in the pan, it releases a great deal of its moisture. Nonetheless, because of its natural water, it should be eaten with oregano."(Columbus Menu Pg.79)

And that delicate dish of goodness pictured above, that was confiscated from La Cucina: The Complete Book of Italian Cooking edited and adapted by Myra Street ©1986.

The seaside resort town of Moneglia, population under three thousand, located about 35 miles (60 kilometers) southeast of Genoa, is home to one of the most unusual Carnevale in all of Italy. This event, known as the Carnevale della Zucca (Carnival of the Pumpkin), originated when two peasants argued over the ownership of a pumpkin that grew on the boundary separating their farms. I can’t promise you pumpkin pie but you should enjoy this Carnevale and the local food and wine. (source)

Thank you for joining me and my cookbooks on this pumpkin hop. I guess there is a whole lot more to pumpkin than just Pumpkin Pie. However, I just can't say Happy Pumpkin Day without leaving at least one more Pumpkin Pie recipe. This one is from none other than "Lady Thanksgiving" Sarah Hale:

The Honored Pumpkin Pie


  1. I love savory pumpkin dishes -- ravioli filled with pumpkin, lasagne with pumpkin and white sauce (no tomato at all), pumpkin soups of many nationalities (especially Caribbean), pumpkin stew from southern France... but i don't like pumpkin pie or anything else where more sweetness is added. Tastes vary, don't they. The New York Times recently published a recipe for very savory pumpkin turnovers that I hope to try soon.

    Happy Halloween!!!

  2. What a wonderful day! Too bad I didn't get the pumpkin muffin photos off the camera... maybe I'll post from home this evening?

  3. Pumpkin and chocolate, too.. around the world!

  4. I have always loved pumpkin. Really, all types of squash. Anything that can go effortlessly from a main dish to dessert is a-okay in my book!

  5. I do love pumpkin whether savory or sweet. And, I have a pretty pumpkin sitting in my kitchen just waiting to be used. It arrived from my CSA yesterday!

  6. I'm starting to love squash so I need more recipes!!! ;)

  7. Pumpkins are so beautiful and extremely versatile! I love them and have fun cooking/baking with them.



  8. Interestingly, the French don't differentiate between squashes. Potiron is the word for winter squash as well as pumpkin. I happen to love pumpkins for their color and the pies. This was a fun post Louise.
    ♥, Susan

  9. I love pumpkin! and these recipes look amazing dear Louise, we use pumpkin around the year!! LOL gloria

  10. yes, we have abundance of pumpkins here, local variety and they are available all year round, the other variety that we can get here is the ones imported from Japan. I have not seen a butternut from usa in my area. Thanks for sharing all these info and the link back. Never knew pumpkins can be brewed to make beer!!

  11. I don't think there's one pumpkin recipe I don't love! Pies, cookies, cakes, scones. I love them all!
    Great post, Louise!

  12. My turn to admit; I have never done anything else with pumpkin except pumpkin pie. Now you have me interested; I will experiment.

  13. This recipe sounds very good and i think it is delicious and it fits perfect with my taste. My opinion is that this isn`t a very hard recipe so i will try it very soon, thanks a lot for sharing.

  14. I had no idea pumpkin was so versatile. I'm killing myself trying to make as many of the recipes as I can, and it's just not possible. Next year I'm going to have to start earlier. Ummm, July perhaps!

  15. I love pumpkin anything. The gnocchi sounds wonderful!

  16. I love gnocchi, but have yet to try pumpkin ones...they sure look colorful...sound and look delicious with all the cheeses.
    Hope you are having a great week Louise and thanks for all the pumpkin's recipes :-)

  17. In my semester abroad in Ireland (many years ago), we all longed for pumpkin pie. There was no pumpkin pie filling, and no pie in bakeries so finally one student hunted down a pumpkin and made up her own pie recipe. I still remember how festive it felt when she exited the little school kitchen with it! My daughter is now studying in Scotland and has seen pumpkin so perhaps she will be spared the withdrawal!

  18. As for me, I'm just sticking with pumpkin pie, one of my favorite things in the world, and maybe a pumpkin bread or muffin.

  19. Oh, and I posted a dessert recipe for your contest. Actually, it's frosting, but you can put it on any cake, so that makes it dessert, right?

  20. Hi Louise, Yes we do have pumpkin here in Malaysia, whole year round! And I have not seen canned pumpkin puree. Interesting info on good old pumpkin, without a doubt, it is delicious in any way it is done! Thanks for sharing! Have a nice day!

  21. Mmm pumpkin! I think it is interesting that in the US it mostly seems to be used in desserts, while in Australia it is the inseparable accompaniment to roast lamb!

    The places in the UK that do Thanksgiving are mostly doing it for homesick Americans. Although there is a harvest festival tradition here, it isn't tied to a specific date like Thanksgiving.

  22. Hey Louise!
    I adore pumpkin in nearly everything & it combines beautifully with a lot of spices & fresh herbs! Your pumpkin gnocchi look so tastefull & a real treat!

    Thanks for the other tasty pumpkin recipes too! ;)

  23. You don't seem to have any "Eat Better, Eat Together Month" entries. I just posted Soup for lunch for 2 for this category (and, of course, another link to your marvelous blog!)

    Have a great weekend, and I'm praying that the evil "white stuff" doesn't come as threatened.

  24. We need an Ode to Pumpkins, duckie. And no, it isn't too late to bring the cookies.

    I may not have agreed totally with you Mae. However, Marion made Pumpkin Pie last night and she forgot to add the sugar!!! It actually didn't taste as bad as I thought. Happy Halloween to YOU!

    You did it, channon And Gretchen's Cheaters Pumpkin Muffins look terrific!!!

    Yes indeed, Janet. Looks like you have that covered!

    Here, here, Retro Ruth. I agree!!!

    I'm seriously looking into a CSA next year, Lisa. The pumpkins around here are just too gnarly, lol.

    Pumpkin and Squash are interchangeable in most cases, Sylvia. Bake away!!!

    I'm sure you do Rosa. They are indeed versatile. Thank you so much for visiting while you're on hiatus, how sweet of you:)

    So glad you enjoyed it, Susan. It was a fun post to do!!!

    Thank you, Gloria. So glad you liked it:)

    I was amazed to discover Pumpkins are distillable too, Lena. Very Cool...

    Thanks Barbara. Nice to "see" you.

    You do your thing with pumpkin Rita and I'll do mine with Butternut Squash. We both will be the wiser, lol...

    Glad you liked it, consultant Drop by anytime:)

    Uh oh, Patti. That means it's time for dessert!!! too mush stress doesn't make it enjoyable. Just do what you can and enjoy:) July? I think not. YOU have a picnic to go too, lol...

    The gnocchi sure does sound wonderful Pam. I'm seriously thinking of giving it a try! We'll see...

    I've had pumpkin gnocchi before Juliana It's actually quite good in an earthy sort of way. Let us know if you try it, will you?

    What a delightful story, Inger. Thanks for sharing it. I read about a town in Connecticut that once postponed Halloween because there was a shortage of sugar and no one could make pumpkin pie. I will be investigating further:)

  25. Mmmmm... pumpkin risotto!?!
    Sounds delicious!
    Too many good recipes on your blog!!

  26. Well, I am behind this week - but hopefully I've done my part to celebrate the pumpkin over at my own site with a ode to a Long Island pumpkin! You've opened my eyes here, because I have always been very provincial when it comes to pumpkins. For some reason, I always assumed them to be somewhat exclusively American. Call me deservedly "ugly" ...

    And a Happy Blogversary, as well, Louise!

  27. Louise, wonderful roundup, thanks for the grand tour. ...Susan

  28. hi louise - love anything about pumpkins so I am more than happy to indulge your blogoversary (and to congratulate you on it too) - thanks for the link to my pumpkin chutney - I have post about pumpkins so I will link to you - my Australian contribution to your global celebration of pumpkin would be our pumpkin scones that are perfect for afternoon tea


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise