I asked Alison to carve our Halloween pumpkin this year, which actually isn’t a pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo species) at all, but a French heirloom squash (Cucurbita maxima sp.), Rouge Vif d’Etampes, that happens to look just like the iconic pumpkin made into a carriage in the illustrations of the Cinderella fairy tale.
We didn’t grow this one ourselves — winter squash and pumpkins take up so much space in the garden that we limit ourselves to planting only squash that we really like to cook and eat. As beautiful as it looks, the RVdE is all looks and no substance. Right now our preferable variety includes the Long Pie Pumpkin, a Cucurbita pepo variety that doesn’t actually look like a pumpkin, but when mature looks like an overgrown zucchini. But the flesh is full of sweet pumpkin flavor, the seeds have very tender hulls (so are good eating when fried or toasted), and it is very productive here in mid-coast Maine. We now have about twenty of them stacked like cordwood in our unused and unheated upstairs bedroom ready to contribute to our winter menus. Our favorite meals with pumpkin include Thai curries with coconut milk, lamb and pumpkin Chinese dumplings, and of course Carol’s Pumpkin Pie. Although that pie is now a documented feature of the Katy T-Day Party in 2008, maybe Marc will post that recipe on Eats soon for posterity.