Around the stalks of maize in the pre-European gardens of the native Americans wove the vines and tendrils of the cucurbits, better known to us as the squashes, gourds, and pumpkins. Their extensive growth and broad leaves provided a sheltering for moisture from the sun’s rays and hindered weed seed germination. The colonists adopted the squashes for their kitchens, especially the pumpkin. They boiled it as a vegetable, puréed and baked it as a savory custard, sweetened it for pies, and preserved it as a jam or chutneylike conserve. In Louisiana, pumpkin was baked in its rind and eaten with butter or gravy. A delicious soup was made from it also, which is not as common in the United States as formerly. Other traditional cuisines of this hemisphere such as the Mexican have retained it, and the French and Spanish have adopted it with enthusiasm.