[Sca-cooks] squashes/pumpkins

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Fri Nov 9 12:49:00 PST 2007

They are a variety of bottle gourd (Langenaria siceraria).  There are a wide 
range of sizes, and colors in both the gourds and the squashes, so they 
often resemble one another.  Since the New World squashes don't show up in 
Europe until after Columbus, if the source predates 1500, you can safely 
assume that it's a gourd.

After 1600, you can probably assume it's a squash.  The 16th Century is the 
real headache, because there is no linguistic differentiation between the 
gourds and the squashes.  Pictorally, look at the stem.  Cucurbita have 
deeply ribbed stellate stems.  Langenaria have relatively smooth round stems 
(if you feel them they have a slightly rough texure with several very fine 
and almost unoticeable ribs).


I've wondered about the pumpkin/squash/gourd/marrow thing, too.

In the Viennese codex "Tacunium Sanitatis," a 13th?-14th? century health 
manual, there is an illustration of people harvesting what the translator 
calls "pumpkins."  The pumpkins look like hubbard squashes.  The particular 
translation I have access to is called "The Four Seasons of the House of 
Cerruti," and I believe does not include the entire codex.

Any nutritional anthropologists out there?


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