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Pumpkins and Squashes: Evolution in an American Family's Folk Food

Last October on a sunny day with puffy clouds arranged gloriously across the horizon, three generations of Nehmzow women set out for Heap's Giant Pumpkin Farm.

The Nehmzow Womens' Mission Statement: Ourmission was threefold: culinary, decorative and diversity. Our repertoire of folk food, food of the common man, was in transition from its Adriatic European roots. The mission of our ancestors was to escape peasant life. From the second to the fourth generations later, there is escaping to farms. We shun the technology that produces canned pumpkin and fabricated decorations. At Heap's the task of the moment was aesthetic with criteria as to contrasts in shape, color and size. However, tantamount to choices, the majority of the selections had to be of culinary use. The farm staff guided “The team” in finalizing a sizeable purchase numerous in varieties.

In the months to come, the team proceeded to researching and recording, plus preparing and presenting their cache of pumpkins and squashes for everyday and holiday use. Several varieties of pumpkin and squashes were on display as well as samples of our folk cookery for tasting. Recipes were available.

Aggie Nehmzow, aka “Tomato Lady,” is the 68-year-young matriarch of the Nehmzow women and an avid organic gardener. Aggie's sights are global. She promotes heirloom gardening as active participation in the diversity of the world's seed banks. Her immediate folk food task is the research and creation of baby food, which will include nutritious squash for her great granddaughter, Audrey.


Recorded Saturday, November 07, 2009 at Kendall College.

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