A Short but Tasty History of Pumpkin Pie An odyssey from colonial staple to political emblem to holiday standby ILLUSTRATION: THOMAS FUCHS By Amanda Foreman Wall Street Journal- Nov. 16, 2017 10:44 a.m. ET 0COMMENTS Pumpkin piemay not compete with its apple-filled rival for most of the year, but on Thanksgiving, it’s the iconic dessert, despite often resembling a giant helping of baby food. As a slice of Americana, the pie has a history as complicated as the country itself. The pumpkin’s ancestors were ancient gourds that left Asia some 60 million years ago. Known botanically asCucurbitaceae, the plant family slowly spread to the African, Australian and American continents, laying down roots (and vines) to become such familiar garden goodies as the melon, the cucumber and the squash. Scientists have tracedCucurbitapepo, the founding fruit of pumpkin pie, to seeds 8,000 to 10,000 years old in the Guilá Naquitz Cave in Mexico. The site is believed to have the earliest evidence of domesticated crops in North America. Though these early Mexican varieties were smaller and more bitter than the pumpkins we know, early Americans ate or otherwise used almost every part of them. By the time Christopher Columbus reached
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