Before I forget: It’s the first of the month, so there’s a new Hot Flash on the Hot Flash page.
It’s pumpkin time in the USA–Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s a tradition that makes sense, since pumpkin is harvested in the autumn here.
Pumpkin is a kind of squash, a New World food that originated in what is now Mexico and spread all over the world. The only continent that doesn’t grow a form of pumpkin is Antarctica, and I’ll bet they could grow them there, if they had enough room in the greenhouse for the vines.
The name evolved from the Greek word “pepon”, meaning large melon–and it does look like a melon. It morphed into the French “pompon”–and it does look a bit like those things cheerleaders hold in their hands and wave. The English changed that to “pumpion”, which is what Shakespeare called it in THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR (if you haven’t seen it, see it), and American colonists, who just had to be different, changed it to pumpkin.
Pumpkins are high in Vitamin A, potassium and fiber, and are good for you, unless you cook them properly.
This very cool recipe is adapted from THE ART OF AMERICAN INDIAN COOKING by Yeffe Kimball and Jean Anderson, in the chapter on The Woodsmen of the East. This is one of the ways the English settlers learned to cook “pompions”, although they baked them in hot ashes rather than in an oven:
- 1 small pumpkin (a pie pumpkin)
- 2 Tbs honey
- 2 Tbs apple cider
- 2 Tbs melted butter or margarine
Cut off top of pumpkin and scoop out strings and seeds. Mix remaining ingredients and pour into hollow pumpkin, brushing up onto sides. Put top back on. Put pumpkin on pie pan and bake at 350 F for 2 hours or so, basting with honey/cider mixture every 30 minutes. After 2 hours, poke flesh with fork to test tenderness. Continue cooking until done.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write something with pumpkins in.