Pumpkin season is here.
Despite threats of a pumpkin shortage due to flooding in the Midwest, the local grocery stores stock a bounty of pumpkins. Many people use them for entryway decorations for Halloween, either whole or with faces carved into them. But Vic and I use them for food, especially pies.
People tend to forget that the original purpose of pumpkins was to eat them. Over the years people have gotten accustomed to using them for decorations. Or using them for punkin' chunkin' if you're one of those people who are into gourd tossing.
Ten thousand years ago, squash and pumpkins were the first food crop domesticated by the aboriginal people of Central America. They didn't have a domestic grain crop yet; recent studies indicate that corn wasn't domesticated until 9,000 years ago.
Originally, Native Americans ate just the protein- and oil-rich seeds of gourds, as the thin rind of the gourds from which squash and pumpkins were developed was too hard and bitter to eat. But over time, the natives developed squash and pumpkins that had edible flesh.