Pumpkin — A Recipes for Success

Tonight I want to talk to you about food and its importance in our lives. And since Halloween is not far away it gives us an excellent chance to talk about the pumpkin! I was offered one the other day and I wondered what I was going to do with it. Of course, we tend to think right away about carving, but it was meant to be eaten. My first thought was soup since it was larger and not necessarily a sweet pumpkin. I wanted to try something a little more special. That meant trying new recipes. So I went in search of pumpkin recipes and I ended up choosing two: a pumpkin cake that did not call for sweet pumpkin and a risotto, both would be suitable for my niece who is a vegetarian.

The topic of food and the importance it has played in the development of human development go hand in hand.

Pumpkins and gourds, which belong to two different species, should not be confused.

References to pumpkins date back many centuries. The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for "large melon" which is "pepon." ~web.extension.illinois.edu

In common parlance, the term is more or less synonymous with pumpkin (cucurbita maxima curge). They are both cucurbitaceae, in other words, squash.

The pumpkin is round in shape and orange in color. Its stalk is hard and fibrous, with five angular sides, with no bulges at its point of attachment. His flesh is stringy. She's the one we use on Halloween.

The pumpkin is more or less flattened, its color ranges from a reddish orange to dark green. Its stalk is tender and spongy, cylindrical and flared near the fruit. Pumpkin flesh is sweeter, tastier and less stringy than pumpkin.

In common parlance, these different terms are often confused. The word "squash" is a generic term that can be applied to all cultivated varieties of the genus Cucurbita. If we want to be more precise, here are the terms allowed to refer to the varieties of the different cultivated species:

Max Cucurbita: pumpkins, pumpkins, giraumons, kabochas

  • Cucurbita ficifolia: Siam squash
  • Cucurbita pepo: squash, pumpkins, zucchini, pastries
  • Cucurbita argyrosperma (mostly grown in the United States): the Mexican squash
  • Cucurbita moschata: buttersquash, 'doubeurre' or butternut

This is all fine and good, but you may now be wondering why pumpkins are so popular on Halloween. If you asked that question you might find the answer interesting. Alright, let's find an answer to that question. Indeed, pumpkins can be found in all kinds of colors, the most popular and common color is orange, and of course it is the color chosen for Halloween.

Last night I was with my brother and several questions came to us regarding Halloween. Why do we put a pumpkin with a candle on our doorstep on Halloween night? Why do we give candy? Why do we dress up on the evening of October 31st? Etc. So we did our research and found answers to our questions.

Why do we put a pumpkin with a candle on our doorstep on Halloween night?

Irish legend has it that a certain Jack is the origin of this tradition. He was so grouchy that he was not welcome in heaven or hell. Think of that! Instead he had to walk around the world with his lantern, which was made from a pumpkin with a candle inside, destined to wander until the last judgment. Around the 1846s, there was a significant emigration of the Irish to the United States and Canada, they brought with them the practices of Halloween and its legends as well as this popular character Jack O'Lantern. People started dropping a pumpkin carving scary faces as it kept evil spirits away…. From there came the popular tradition of placing a pumpkin on the edge of our door on the evening of October 31st.

Question: Why do we give candy?

The source of this tradition comes from the Celts who deposited small gifts or food on the doorstep thinking that this would be enough for ghosts and that it would prevent them from entering their homes. This would explain why we give things that are eaten on Halloween: candy (the treat) to appease the ghosts (tricks).

Question: Why do we dress up on the evening of October 31st?

Again the Celts believed that ghosts and witches were walking on the land on the night of October 31, the end of the sun season and the beginning of the dark season. So they started dressing up so they wouldn't be recognized as ghosts and witches. From there, the tradition of dressing up at Halloween arrived in modern culture.

Question: Why are black and orange the main colors of this festival?

Black is reminiscent of the season of darkness and death, while orange represents this famous pumpkin and the color of the harvests which was seen as life throughout the winter. These colors are therefore became ingrained into the festival and they now represent Halloween more than any other colors.

Question: Where does the name Halloween come from?

For the Romans, November 1st was a very important holy day which they called "All Hallows". Over the years, October 31, which was the eve of All Hallows, was therefore known as All Hallows Eve (evening). And it is now this day that we celebrate as Halloween. The English word would probably come from that time or from the fact that in 835 the Catholic Church decided that November 1st would be All Saint's Day or All Hallow's Day. So the day before that day was called "All Hallow's Evening" hence the word Halloween was derived from the combination in the last millennia.

It was at the end of the 19th century that Halloween became a very important holiday in the United States and increasingly in Canada which adopted many of the traditions that were started here.

I hope that the answer satisfies some of your curiosity about the celebration.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

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