[Sca-cooks] So, just what was a Pumpion?

lilinah at earthlink.net lilinah at earthlink.net
Sun Nov 1 20:18:55 PST 2009

'Tis the season... for this to come around again on the gee-tar:

On our local cooks list, people have been asking for both period and 
non-period pumpkin recipes.

According to my limited research, the first documented written use of 
the word "pumpion" was in 1526, although i don't known where. 
Apparently it was first defined in the 1545 edition of Sir Thomas 
Elyot's dictionary as "a kynde of Melones called Pompones"

The word itself, now "pumpkin", comes from Middle French "pompon" and 
"popon", from Old French "pepon", from Latin "pepo", referring to a 
kind of melon, from the Greek "pepon" meaning "ripe".

It remains unclear to me if in the 16th c. "pompion" (as i've seen it 
written) refers to a melon, a round gourd, or to some New World 

Helewyse has demonstrated that New World squashes were used in Italy 
in the 16th century, but i don't known about elsewhere, or whether 
gourds and squashes were used interchangeably, or if there was a 
preference for one over the other, and which kinds of squashes were 
known in Europe.

I'm sure this has come up, perhaps even recently, but i haven't been 
reading the digests as carefully as usual :-( and may have skipped 
over the thread.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

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