The online magazine
dedicated to the
discussion & revival
of British foodways.

NO.53
SUMMER2017

A seventeenth century side of stewed pompion

Four to six servings.

This dish of soused pumpkin could have been designed to pair with grilled pork chops or a roast of pork, like our own devilled roast pork.


-4 cups cooked mashed pumpkin (or winter squash)
-3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
-2 Tablespoons malt or cider vinegar
-1 Tablespoon ground ginger
-salt


Stir everything together over medium low heat and check the seasonings.

Notes:

- The Editor has increased the amounts of everything but the pumpkin a little from the recipe as she first found it. Otherwise the pumpkin overwhelms its flavorings. You might want even more vinegar, especially if using the milder cider variant that appears in the source.

- Our source was not the original recipe. This is it:

“The Ancient New England Standing Dish.”

“But the Housewives manner is to slice them when ripe, and cut them into dice, and so fill a pot with them of two or three Gallons, and stew them upon a gentle fire a whole day, and as they sink, they fill again with fresh pompions, not putting any liquor to them; and when it is stew’d enough, it will look like bak’d apples; this they Dish, putting butter to it, and a little Vinegar, (with some Spice, as Ginger &c.) which makes it tart like an Apple, and so serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh: It provokes Urine extreamly and is very windy.”

- The Editor notes that she has not been much ‘provoked’ by stewed pompion but declines to discuss the wind.

- The website of Plimoth Plantation, www.plimoth.org, tells us that the recipe appears in Two Voyages to New England by John Josselyn. No date of publication is given (it is 1674) but the site, a good one, indicates that Josselyn was “a traveler to New England in the 1600s.”

- Also according to Plimoth Plantation, “[i]t is one of the earliest written recipes from New England.” We have no reason to doubt them.

- A ‘standing’ dish indicates that “this sort of pumpkin dish was eaten everyday or even at every meal.” (www.plimoth.org/discover/recipes/pompion.php: The source of the other PP quotations as well.)