Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon by Cindy Ott
Published: October 2012
Why do so many Americans drive for miles each autumn to buy a vegetable that they are unlikely to eat? While most people around the world eat pumpkin throughout the year, North Americans reserve it for holiday pies and other desserts that celebrate the harvest season and the rural past. They decorate their houses with pumpkins every autumn and welcome Halloween trick-or-treaters with elaborately carved jack-o’-lanterns. Towns hold annual pumpkin festivals featuring giant pumpkins and carving contests, even though few have any historic ties to the crop.
I am utterly obsessed with Autumn.
The harvest. Apples. Cinnamon. Pumpkin EVERYTHING. So, of course, it was a no brainer for me to read the history of the glorious pumpkin.
In this fascinating cultural and natural history, Cindy Ott tells the story of the pumpkin. Beginning with the myth of the first Thanksgiving, she shows how Americans have used the pumpkin to fulfull their desire to maintain connections to nature and to the family farm of lore, and, ironically, how small farms and rural communities have been revitalized in the process.
I loved the photos and bonus historical bits.
Pumpkins have inspired American myths and traditions, the pumpkin itself has changed because of the ways people have perceived, valued, and used it. Pumpkin is a smart and lively study of the deep meanings hidden in common things and their power to make profound changes in the world around us.
An impressive thoroughly researched book! Cindy Ott definitely connects the pumpkin to its many different aspects of its symbolism, tracing back the fruit to its origin. Well worth a read if you have an interest in history of the US and the many different faces of the pumpkin. From the term “pumpkin head” to cattle fodder to the age old purity of the family outing to the pumpkin patch, Ott includes it all while pointing out the discrepancies and consistencies.Awesome history of not only the pumpkin itself, but our cultural ties to it. Great analysis of the feelings of nostalgia and homespun goodness every fall.
Made me appreciate pumpkin farmers and brought back great memories. Anyone who gets half as excited as me will love this book!