Everyone is always shocked when I use pumpkin in Latino or Middle Eastern foods. But it’s nothing new. Not for Jews and not for me.
More from Zester Daily:
For Jews of Sephardic or Mizrachi backgrounds, edible gourds — pumpkins and thick-skinned squashes (which I often think of as winter squashes) — are everyday foods. Pumpkin is also a vital part of the Jewish New Year’s feast. The pumpkin, or k’raa in Hebrew, is a symbolic food connected to the wish that evil decrees be torn, squashed, quashed, vacated or otherwise gone. Why so many possibilities? The meaning varies from community to community, and the way those edicts are dissolved is a source of fun and global creative wordplay. But the pumpkin, no matter the variety, is always on the table.
My paternal roots as an Ashkenazi Northeasterner run for four generations, and pumpkin simply meant fall and Thanksgiving. It was ubiquitous, and came in cans aplenty. For me it was all-American food all the way growing up, but until I started traveling the world, tasting and cooking along the way, I didn’t realize that it was global. Or in any way Jewish-esque.
So when it comes to fall and the multitude of Jewish and American holidays, pumpkin reigns supreme in my kitchen. Here are some dishes that feature this versatile squash:
Main photo: This lovely vegetable dish called Pumpkin Arroz Tapado, courtesy of Peruvian healthy-food writer Morena Escardo, is perfect for a dinner party. Credit: Copyright 2015 Morena Escardo/TheWeiserKitchen