Pumpkins

Pumpkins, along with their other squash relatives, are quite easy to grow in the cool hills around Chiang Mai. While traveling through the mountains along the winding roads, with fields of cabbage, corn, lettuce and other vegetables stretching over the rolling countryside into the distance, you will usually see pumpkin vines tumbling down the steep banks of the roadside and other difficult to cultivate areas. The vines are so aggressive that the farmers just toss the seeds onto any unused plot of land and leave them to their own devices.

Custard Filled Pumpkin

This relatively simple recipe nonetheless provides an interesting "wow" factor. It's a quite simple idea, and I only recently found out that the great American traditional pumpkin pie is thought to have originated when the early colonists cut the top off a pumpkin (provided, like corn, by the Native Americans) and filled it with milk, spices and honey, then baked it in the coals of a dying fire.

Thai Pumpkins

Thai golden pumpkins (fak tong) are perhaps more 'natural' than their North American cousins. As with many other fruits and vegetables, looks are not considered as important as taste for Thais. Although the fruit is thought to have originated in North America, Thai pumpkins are not like the unblemished clear skinned orange squash used to make Jack-o-Lanterns. They're usually either green or even gray in color, with occasional orange blotches and quite bumpy skin. They're also generally smaller than the huge ones often favored by the yanks. It's just as well.

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