|Country Wagon Produce, Maine, NY|
(and, at this time of year, overcast clouds go together with fall in upstate New York like.... but I digress).
What is a pumpkin? It is a Cucurbitaceae, or a squash, related to melons, gourds, and cucumbers. In the United States, until recent years, orange pumpkins were the most popular. Now, white pumpkins are also gaining in popularity. And, heirloom pumpkins are making a comeback - green, warted, flattish, and others. There are miniature pumpkins for tabletops, smallish pumpkins ("sugar" pumpkins) for pies, large pumpkins for carving and huge pumpkins for growing contests and punkin chunkin.
Pumpkins are used in other parts of the world, too, in various ways from decorations to soup.
I have never grown pumpkins, because they are far from my favorite food (although I love other winter squashes, especially butternut, delicata and acorn), but they are easy enough to grow, especially where I live in upstate New York.
When I grew up, in the New York City of the 1950's and 1960's, pumpkins had three uses:
2. Pumpkin seeds (roasted and sold as snacks; and
3. Pumpkin pie.
Now, in upstate New York, and elsewhere in the United States, everything seems to have pumpkin in it, whether you want it or not.
In our local small supermarket (and I emphasize "small"), I found the following for sale, besides the actual pumpkin fruit (yes, pumpkin is a fruit, but we won't get too technical here):
Pumpkin flavored coffee
Pumpkin pizzelle cookies
Pumpkin quick bread and muffin mix
Pumpkin bar mix
Pumpkin ice cream
Pumpkin spice mix
Sparkling spiced pumpkin cider
Pumpkin spice marshmallows
Pumpkin cream cheese spread
Frozen pumpkin ravioli
Pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling
Pumpkin flavored coffee creamer
Which leaves people like me who don't like pumpkin, baffled.
How did eating punkin-I mean, pumpkins-get to be so popular? Yes, I know the flesh is nutritious, and the seeds are nutritional powerhouses. But still? That taste?
Do you like to eat pumpkin flavored foods? Or do you hope this is a fad that will go away? Or, is pumpkin not eaten where you live?