I know it’s the inappropriate thing to do, but I can’t help myself. I just enjoy looking at them too much, admiring their bumps and ridges; their striations; their gnarly, twisting stems; their colors that identify each one while defying uniformity.
I have a giant golden bowl filled with winter squash resting mid-kitchen table, an autumnal centerpiece if there ever was one. I know I’d be advised against leaving them in the open, exposed to light and temperature changes and a five-year-old who sets the table by hucking forks.
I know my darling squash collection isn’t meant for a life of show, of nightly subjection to a chandelier spotlight. They say squash keep best when kept in dark and cool places. But those people, the all-knowing “they” must not be trying to raise a beta-carotene-fueled family in the desert, where the sun absolutely refuses to get out of my yard, and where dark and cool refers only to places I would forbid my teenage daughter to go, if I had one.
Besides, we drove hours to a hot and dusty farm to fill a wheelbarrow with these winter squash, with not just spaghetti and acorn and butternut, but with our first-ever ambercup and buttercup, with carnival and delicata. I think we threw a kabocha in there, too. So of course I’m going to display them prominently, these ornaments that I will, yes, get around to eating. Soon.
It was part of our annual pilgrimage, our search to find fall. To all you — you, you, and, yes, you — who are in your respective parts of the world fussing about the chill: I’ll trade you. I really will. But I’m guessing you secretly know how good you’ve got it, that even as you complain about shivering on the outside, intellectually you know the worth of fall. Of harvests and changing leaves. Of the approaching dark and cool.
Each time I look at the squash, I keep thinking of new things to do with them (besides look). Here’s the list so far. And please, I’d love you to kick in with a comment about what you’d do with said squash (or any other favorite varieties, for that matter). Enjoy the harvest!
Braised Squash with Tomato Sauce
Roasted Squash with Maple-Soy Glaze
Acorn filled with Apples, Cranberries and Walnuts
Borlotti Bean Mole with Roasted Squash