In A Description of New Netherland, Adriaen van der Donck, an early landowner and the first lawyer in New Netherland, presented a wonderfully detailed description of the natural and cultural worlds of that Dutch colony and its environs in 1655. His observations on squashes and pumpkins, which take up much of the chapter on “Vegetables”, include the comment that “the English, who are fond of tasty food, like pumpkins very much and use them also in pies, and know how to make a beverage from them.”
The “English” referred to in van der Donck’s description were the English colonists in New England, where pumpkins were a staple of the diet. New Englanders brewed pumpkin ale, they added dried pumpkin to flips, and they stewed pumpkin as a vegetable. However, it was their pumpkin pie that, over the following centuries, went on to become an edible icon.