[Sca-cooks] squashes/pumpkins

Louise Smithson helewyse at yahoo.com
Sat Nov 10 06:42:54 PST 2007

Bear got it spot on, by 1570 when Scappi wrote Opera there were new world squashes in use, he has specific recipes for new world squash too.  I did a class on the introduction of new world foods in Italian food about two years ago at Pennsic.  It is available on the florilegium (Search under "time for change") and off my own website. http://www.geocities.com/helewyse/newworld.pdf
What is most entertaining about the various recipes and descriptions of new world squash is that they are described as superior to the old world squash. 
I have grown and eaten snake gourd and in flavor and texture it has much more in common with summer squash (zucchini) than winter squash (say butternut or acorn or pumpkin).  Mattioli says "They produce large seeds, like almonds, flat and white, and within is a meat which is sweet and gentle. They taste sweet and not bland like ours, but they are tasty without seasoning them with condiments and aromatic spices."
Scappi also has a recipe for stuffed squash and says that you can make any dish that calls for "our" squash with this "turkish" squash. 
So in summary it depends which recipes from The Medieval Kitchen you are using, and which source the recipes originate from.  The anonymous venetian or tuscan or Martino = old world squash, the 16th century sources such as Scappi and Libro Novo then it can be new world squash. 
my 2c
Bear wrote: Prior to the introduction of New World cucurbits, pumpkin referred to a
similarly shaped gourd.  The New World squashes replaced the Old World 
gourds during the 16th Century.
Rocas wrote: I was recently perusing an on-line version of "The Medieval Kitchen"
 and I 
noticed several recipies that involved squash an pumpkin.  I had always
thought that squash was a new world food that did not reach Europe
the Renaisance.  Was I wrong about that?

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