Pat Shingleton: "Harvesting the Pumpkin Patch..."
It originated as a day to give thanks for the harvest, to embrace relationships between family and friends and an invitation to neighbors. As noted in a previous column, original traditions included the wild turkey and the pumpkin pie. Long before the arrival of pilgrims, pumpkins were used as a food source, for medicinal purposes and even pounded, dried and woven into mats for trading. The pumpkin is a member of the cucurbit or gourd family and originated from the Greek word "pepon" or "large melon." The original pumpkin pie was made by hollowing it out, filling it with milk, honey and spices then baking it in hot ashes. Pumpkins grow in numerous climates and the "Pumpkin Capitol of the World" is Morton, Illinois, home to Libby foods.