Before I get completely carried away, a word about the classification of pumpkins: From a botanical perspective pumpkins, and other squash, are fruits, because we are talking about the fleshy meat surrounding the seeds of the plant. From a culinary perspective, and for the purposes of this article, I am calling squash a vegetable. Also, according to a very scientific poll of Our Lady Facebook users most understand pumpkin to be a fruit but approach it like a vegetable. The conclusion: call it what you want, everyone is a fan!
When it came time to promote fall produce pumpkin sure pulled the long straw. That stuff is everywhere! You can eat it, drink it, smell it. Pumpkin is probably the most talked about vegetable, so much so that even late night television comedians are dedicating entire, hilarious, segments to how much we love this vegetable!
Here’s John Oliver head over heels in love with his hating of pumpkin:
Good heavens that is funny stuff!
We are so pumpkin brainwashed that even small children, who would otherwise avoid vegetables at all costs, are embracing, nay, demanding pumpkin flavored treats!
On Monday evening we were in the middle of our weekly visit to Menchie’s for frozen yogurt. While sprinkling almonds and Heath bar bits over my pumpkin and graham cracker fro-yo, I was distracted by a small boy around the same age as The Little Helping (4ish). His mother was reading names of the flavors and letting him choose what would fill his paper bowl.
Mother: This one is cake batter.
Mother: This one is pumpkin.
Boy: (throws hands up into the air and leaps while yelling his response) YES!!
I couldn’t help gigging at the scene. The kid knew what he wanted and he was owning his choice. The Little Helping made a similar selection just a few minutes earlier.
So what’s the deal? Why do we love pumpkin so darn much? Does the population at large realize it has gone ga-ga for a VEGETABLE??? Why aren’t we embracing beets with the same gusto?
I don’t really have answers. I do know that if you add enough sugar to anything people will embrace it as food – case in point, Slurpees.
But what about all the other squash? Why haven’t they achieved super star status? There are so many things to love about squash. Right off the bat they have really fun names: Golden Nugget, Acorn, Butternut, Delicata, Stripetti, Spaghetti, and my personal favorite Buttercup. Heck just saying ‘squash’ is fun!
As a category, squash are easily the coolest looking vegetables. They come in a wide variety of sizes, lumpy-bumpy shapes, and vibrant colors. When cooked they have a range of flavors from sweet to nutty and their textures range from crisp vegetable to silky smooth.
Go ahead and drink your lattes, eat your scones, and light those candles, I will too, just remember to give some love to the other wonderful squash available this time of year.