An Ode to Pumpkin, Past and Present

By Amy Wagner on November 28, 2013
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Pumpkin, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Photo courtesy of holisticselect.com

Pumpkin was once a staple of the American diet until the 19th century, at which time it was already becoming a symbol of the past. Since this time, pumpkin has been largely ignored by Americans, except around Halloween. Even then, it’s valued more for its aesthetic purposes than for its amazing taste. However, you may have heard of a drink called the pumpkin spice latte, introduced by Starbucks in 2003. And while I love a pumpkin spice latte as much as the next college girl, I’m completely aware of the fact that “products labeled ‘pumpkin spice’ almost never contain any pumpkin,” and I just won’t tolerate that. In addition to the famous pumpkin spice latte (or PSL, as it’s known these days), there are pumpkin spice Pop-Tarts, Pringles, coffee creamer, M&Ms, and who knows what else. In other words, if you can dream it, it’s been “pumpkin spiced.”

Thus, even in pumpkin season, people rarely eat real pumpkin. I highly disagree with J. Bryan Lowder writing for Slate.com when he states that “pumpkin, alone, is gross. Only in, for example, a pie with sugar and spices does it become palatable.” Dear Uloop readers, I have been known to eat pumpkin straight out of the can, over yogurt, and in homemade puddings and pasta sauce. If I see a can of pumpkin, I will grab a spoon. And if it’s a recipe that has pumpkin in it, rest assured, I will eat it.

Pumpkin spice is more popular than ever, and yes, it’s delicious. But if you’ve never had the pleasure of eating real pumpkin, unvarnished and unadorned, you haven’t really had pumpkin. Or, if eating pumpkin solo doesn’t entice you, try fresh or canned pumpkin in a recipe. This well-known squash is not only tasty; it’s versatile. A quick Google search yields recipes for desserts, pancakes, soups, chili, and lasagna, to name a few. The pulp isn’t the only useful part of the pumpkin – pumpkin seeds are a great snack as well. And pumpkin isn’t just tasty. It’s also healthy and full of nutrients. One cup of pumpkin is packed with fiber, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, and magnesium. Pumpkin is truly a treat that manages to be delicious and nutritious simultaneously, and it deserves to be recognized as such.

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Amy is a third-year student at the University of Denver majoring in Communication Studies, with concentrations in organizational and intercultural communication, as well as minoring in business and international studies. She is a Colorado native, avid reader, coffee drinker, lover of all things active, and now, thanks to Uloop, a writer.

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