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herbs

For the love of pumpkin

I've been having a discussion on twitter with an American lady who was wanting to know, if we call cookies 'biscuits', what do we call what Americans call biscuits (answer: scones). She was surprised, as she had assumed that scones were sweet. They're not, though - we just eat them with sweet toppings. She looked at the recipe I provided and agreed they're the same. Then I started imagining trying to get an Australian to eat scones with chicken and gravy. Then I rolled around the floor for a while, laughing.

This moved on (via my provision of a recipe for pumpkin scones) into the different ways our lovely world treats the gorgeous pumpkin. When I was in England a few years ago, my English friends were amazed at the thought of eating pumpkin on pizza - or of eating it in any other form than soup, actually. My American twitterer was also amazed by the pizza suggestion - she said Americans tend to eat pumpkin as an ingredient in sweet foods (pumpkin bread with raisins or choc chips, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins). She said she had heard of pumpkin soup, but had never eaten it - it was seen as an "upscale" food. (Upscale! Pumpkin Soup!!! One of the cheapest meals known to man!!!) My friend Sandy has told me that in Russia pumpkin is only seen as animal feed - no one would ever serve it to humans. What a crazy, diverse world we live in!

Anyway, this made me want to run through, for those of you who may never have thought of it, some of the delightful ways Australians use pumpkin.

1. Pumpkin scones - savoury, delicious. Split and buttered. YUM, YUM, YUM.
2. Roasted. Preferably with cloves of garlic. Then eaten with:
(i) roast potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc as an accompaniment to meats or fake meats.
(ii) Or as the bottom layer of a killer vegie lasagne - works brilliantly with a tomato-based pasta sauce.
(iii) On a pizza, with goats cheese, or pesto, or whatever.
3. Soup. Just need pumpkin, stock, maybe some ginger or coriander. Whizz to smooth when cooked. Or add to a chunky vegetable soup.
4. Steamed, like any other vegetable accompaniment.
5. Mashed, with/without potato.
6. Made into gnocchi.
7. Made into pastry for a savoury pie.
8. One time, I wrapped garlic-roasted pumpkin in Vietnamese rice paper wraps and baked them. Topped them with roasted caramelised cherry tomatoes/onion.

What else? Tell me of your fab recipes for the gorgeous pumpkin, my sweet LJers. Make me drool. How does your country treat this delicious veg?

Comments

Agreed that we view savory pumpkin dishes as fancy food for fancy people. What I love is that we associate pumpkin with pumpkin pie SO MUCH that you get things like pumpkin lattes (which DO NOT have pumpkin in them, just nutmeg and cinnamon). The easiest way to get pumpkin in my grocery store is actually pre-roasted, sweetened, spiced, and canned as pie filling. Pumpkins that are sold whole are usually not for eating - they're sturdy, woody-skinned ornamental versions for making jack o'lanterns.
Ahaha! I wondered how the hell you guys got pumpkin into a latte!

And the first few times I saw "canned pumpkin" in an American recipe I was all O.O what is wrong with these people???, but then I figured it was probably more a result of great chunks of your country being under snow in winter, rather than the whole "Americans only eat vastly over-processed crap" stereotype.

Over here, pumpkin is ridiculously cheap when in season. We eat it A WHOLE DAMN LOT, but almost never as a sweet. It's not even that uncommon for it to be grown in a suburban back garden.
also dont uk/us people call butternut pumpkin squash? so may not associate squash as a pumpkin? or is that still something people dont eat much?
i prefer butternuts to grey or japanese pumpkins, but all are good, and pretty similar taste wise.

what we call squash are small ufo shaped yellow things, that taste like a zucchini (which some places people call courgette's :)

and ah the pumpkin latte thing makes much more sense now, i was thinking Pumpkin in coffee WTF? those crazy americans! ;] but cinanamon and nutmeg makes sense
canned pumpkin still makes no sense to me however ;p
I learned from nimnod that in South Africa, those little yellow squash (squashes?) are called patty pans!
patty pans ! heh, funny
We say pattypan! The other summer squash varieties I can think of off the top of my head are crookneck and delicata, as well as the zucchini, which, like the pumpkin, kind of is viewed as its own whole thing.
Also, good question re: butternuts. Hopefully sapote3 can give us an answer!
I asked the original person I was discussing this with, and she said she doesn't consider butternut as pumpkin, and that she eats it baked with butter and brown sugar as a side dish. I guess like some people feel the need to add honey to roasted carrots. Anyway, she provided this link, saying, "This is the only thing we call a pumpkin. Everything else is just squash. Butternut and acorn are common." I do find it odd that butternut is called squash and not pumpkin, considering that all the pumpkins are squash - why not call them all squash, or call butternuts pumpkin? When I think "squash", I think of fragile skin and soft, squishy insides.

I'm still amazed by the different way we treat words, food, everything!
oh gracious! You call butternut squash pumpkins? THIS EXPLAINS SO MUCH. People would be really surprised to hear you refer to 'pumpkins' as 'squash' unless you were talking about strictly botanical definitions. 'Pumpkin' means the round orange Halloween decoration and absolutely nothing else. We call all the orange-fleshed hard-shelled squashes "winter squash" because they keep over the winter. The watery summer vegetables like courgettes are "summer squash". There are about a billion types of both, I suspect on a regional basis - around here there's a crooknecked yellow summer squash people are nuts for that I find completely mystifying.
Well, we call all the other orange-fleshed hard-shelled squashes "winter squash". In this region of the US their dietary role is a little supplanted by sweet potatoes, but people definitely eat them.
Aha! Now we're getting somewhere! So - "winter squash" - how do you eat it? Sweet? Savoury? Recipes? And sweet potatoes - sweet or savoury (we're savoury on all).

Here's a link to what we call pumpkins.
Here is my favorite butternut squash recipe, the one whose main flaw was that I fell so hard for it that I ate it every day for a year and therefore will go a while before eating it again. Hilariously, down in the comments you can see nimnod and I discussing pumpkin vs. squash and also scones.
God, that sounds like a great recipe! Pumpkin is out of season now, and hence stupidly expensive, but I might bookmark your recipe for when it gets colder.

The American lady who started all this asked me if she should make soup from pie pumpkin or butternut - I still find it amazing that you guys treat them differently when they are just versions of the same thing. We will use all variations in the same ways. I told her, if you can make a pie from it, you can make a soup from it. (As in, if it's edible, you can make a soup from it!)

It is quite amusing, reading the comments to that post you linked to. Also funny was reading your ingredients: "1 small acorn squash, the kind that's about as tall as a 12-oz soda" - my brain is going, "How much is 12 oz??? How big is an American soda???" It's amazing we can all talk at all, with the ridiculous barriers our language throws in our way!

And now I'm really wishing for pumpkin!