Although there are dozens of varieties, pumpkins fall into two categories: those for carving and those for cooking. The cheerfully ubiquitous jack-o'-lantern pumpkins are great for the front porch, but their flesh tends to be fibrous and bland. The other pumpkins are the ones you'll find all fall at produce and farmers' markets. They're beautiful enough to decorate with, but they're grown to be cooked and eaten like any other winter squash.
Varieties such as Baby Bear and Sugar Pie have dense flesh and delicate flavor. And look for the eggshell-colored Lumina and softball-shaped Orange Smoothie. Whatever variety you choose, these dishes will help you get to know this squash's savory side.