Just in Time for Halloween, a Smashing Pumpkin Expert

University of Delaware professor Cindy Ott has facts, figures and historic oddities to share on the famous orange gourd

Newswise — Cindy Ott, an associate professor of history and material culture at the University of Delaware, offers five facts on the pumpkin as the orange gourd makes its return for Halloween and dominates everything from our coffee selection to the Thanksgiving table.

When did the pumpkin become a symbol of Halloween? How did it become a fall staple? Are you really drinking pumpkin when you order a pumpkin spice latte? Ott has the answers.

She is an expert on American food and culture, environmental history, history and memory, material and visual culture and race and ethnicity studies.

Her first book, Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon, published with William Cronon’s Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books at the University of Washington Press in 2012, uses this beloved vegetable in all its various guises, from the pie and the jack-o’-lantern to the affectionate term of endearment and the 1000-pound giants, to analyze Americans’ long-held and deeply felt veneration of nature and the small family farm and the impacts of those beliefs and traditions on rural communities.

To set up an interview, contact Peter Bothum at 831-1418 or pbothum@udel.edu.

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