Though pumpkins are purchased with the best seasonal intentions, they often end up as a predictable soup, pie or lopsided sculpture. This fall, enjoy your gourd as the culinary diva it was born to be with ideas from food historian Michael Krondl, author of The Great Little Pumpkin Book and the upcoming paperback The Taste of Conquest. A recipe follows the Q&A.

The Great Little Pumpkin Book has been in print for almost 10 years. What's new about pumpkins today?

Cooking pumpkins are more ubiquitous; they're all over the place.

What does a cooking pumpkin look like?

It's a beige pumpkin that's a little squatter, thick-fleshed and orange. They're known as cheese pumpkins because they vaguely resemble Gouda.

How about a recipe for men cooking for a date?

A pumpkin crème brulee would be really good. To make it easier, you could buy a pumpkin pie, sprinkle it with raw sugar and get out the blow torch. You'd definitely impress somebody.

Which pumpkin dishes are tired?

Pie is tired. So is pumpkin soup. It seems like people in this country can only think of two things to do with pumpkin: soup or pie.

Are other pumpkins good for cooking?

The Jack B. Littles are OK. You can hollow them out and bake things inside, like a savory bread pudding. An upscale pastry chef was recently hollowing them out and baking a cheesecake inside. Pumpkins can be used as serving dishes. Pie pumpkins are orange, about the size of a football or soccer ball. For cooking, avoid jack-o'-lanterns, which are specifically grown for decorative purposes.

Which pumpkin dishes have you made this season?

I roasted some pumpkin. I just took a cheese pumpkin, tossed it with olive oil, some chopped up sage, salt and pepper, and roasted it at 400 degrees. This evening, I'm going to fry some bacon and onions, throw in some pumpkin and toss it with bowtie pasta.

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