Bald Head Island Conservancy

Field Guide: The Romantic Scent of Pumpkin

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by Desiree Bridge, Turtle Central Assistant Manager

When one has romantic thoughts for a person, they may perhaps wish to attract them with flowers or chocolates, but to truly enchant someone, just bake them a pie. A pumpkin pie to be exact. With a lavender garnish. The Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago in the 90s conducted a study to see which scent men found the most alluring. The study found that the men’s favorite scent was pumpkin, and when mixed with lavender they were even more thrilled by the scent. Incidentally, the foundation also conducted the test later with women and discovered that though women too enjoyed the scent  of pumpkin, it was cucumbers combined with licorice which women found truly stirring. 

Pumpkins, native to the New World, were an important food crop for the Native Americans and later a nourishing food source for the colonists during wintertime.  Pumpkins, historically called pompions or pumpion, could be turned into ale, roasted, or baked into pies. Here is a recipe from 1658’s The Complete Cook for Pumpion Pye. Top your pie with either licorice or lavender whip cream before serving to your intended. (By the way, if you’re not a fan of eating pumpkin, remember it is the scent that attracts not the taste.) Ah l’amour. 

Take about halfe a pound of Pumpion and slice it, a handful of Tyme, a little  Rosemary, Parsley and sweet Marjoram slipped off the stalks, and chop them  small, then take Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Pepper, and six Cloves, and beat them; take  ten Eggs and beat them; then mix them, beat them altogether, and put in as much  Sugar as you think fit, then fry them like a froiz; after it is fryed, let it stand till it be cold, then fill your Pye, take sliced Apples thinne round ways, and lay a row of the Froiz, and a layer of Apples with Currans betwixt the layer while your Pye is fitted, and put in a good deal of sweet butter before you close it; when the Pye is  baked, take six yolks of Eggs, some whitewine or Verjuyce, and make a Caudle of this, but not too think; cut up the Lid and put it in, stir them well together whilst  the Eggs and Pumpions be not perceived, and so serve it up. 


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