Well, I know what my contribution to the family Thanksgiving dinner will be.
Picture this: on Friday night, I headed over to a friend’s house and found her scowling at the butternut squash she was peeling. I looked with interest at the two onions and head of garlic that were waiting by her cutting board, shrugged, and set to tossing the cut melon and berries I had brought into a bowl. Apparently I have not been eating enough fruit, as the instant the pumpernickel and gouda were arranged, I commenced stuffing myself silly with juicy goodness while I watched her dice the onions and mince the garlic.
She tossed the cubed squash, the garlic and the onions together on a cookie sheet and set them in the oven. Showing that she is a true friend, she then joined me in face-stuffing (rather than sitting back and watching me gorge). Another friend joined us (bringing wine and cupcakes for dessert) just as our hostess was boiling some pasta.
We all munched contentedly as the pasta boiled. Fruit and gouda and pumpernickel, omnomnom. Then the hostess got up, drained the pasta, tossed the squash and onions and garlic in, added some cheese, stirred everything up, and immediately dished out three plates of whatisthatgivememore!
I could barely waddle out of the kitchen and into the living room when we were done. I curled up in a blanket, cradled my glass of wine and tried not to lose myself to the food coma while we all chattered.
This morning, after a Saturday of running around like a madwoman gathering things for work and trying not to fall asleep over my sodas and beer punch while out at dinner with other friends, I decided that I wanted a little self-pampering. A real, honest-to-goodness home-cooked meal, the leftovers of which I would be able to take with me to work for lunches over the next few days. A meal that was not vegetable chili, since I made that last Sunday and still have a pint of it in the freezer and another half-pint in the fridge.
Then it came to me:
For the past few hours, I’ve been lazily chopping and roasting and boiling. Admittedly, there have been frequent breaks for flash games and playing with the hole in the sock on my right foot and for sawing in half the loaf of Francese bread I picked up to freeze some of it and for stuffing myself silly with green grapes. This process should take just about an hour, total, but I am special needs sometimes and it took me three.
I used a mixture of shredded parmesan, asiago and fontina on my pasta. Then, because I am a glutton, I pulled out a grater and a block of smooth sharp cheddar. At this point I stopped even pretending to have any self-control and starting gnawing melty deliciousness off the spoon I’d stirred it all together with.
I have two half-pint containers of butternut!cheese!pasta in the fridge and about three quarters of a pint of squash!onion!garlic getting cold in the freezer for future use. These and a fantastic portion for dinner, after buying the smallest squash I could find and only one onion!
I’m hoping none of my roommates wants to store anything in the freezer between now and, oh, January. I’ve still got a pint of applesauce and two fillets of fish in there with my chili and bread and squash. I tend to think that it’s not quite as bad as two dozen bagels, three pints of diced jalapenos, four partial pints of ice cream and a bag of ice, but maybe that’s just me trying to justify my greediness? Either way, it’s a really good thing we’re all getting so good at packing efficiently.
So there you have it: my new favorite thing to make. It is so incredibly easy and so incredibly delicious, I can’t imagine why something like that never occurred to me before. Thanks for feeding me awesome food, C.
[You’d never know that I couldn’t stand squash until I was 20. Now, I can’t seem to get enough…]
WAIT. I HAVE ONE MORE THING TO SAY.
Boston, can we talk for a minute? I only need a second of your time. See, I like nice weather as much as the next girl and I appreciate a gentle breeze and the opportunity to bask in sunshine. But, honestly?
Knock it off, you are FREAKING ME OUT.
It is November 20, three weeks into the next-to-last month of the year. New England has trained me, over the past 26 years, to expect the leaves to change color from September to October and to prepare for snow on Halloween and to have a hat and gloves piled by the door after Guy Fawkes Day. Why, then, have you suddenly decided to change your weather patterns?!
The 80 degrees in the middle of October were a lark, I’ll grant you. I don’t think I’ve ever worn a tank top so late into the year, nor gotten a sunburn while picking apples. But this two-week stretch of temperatures in the 50s and 60s has got to stop. Thank you for finally taking all the leaves off the trees, that was super strange and unsettling, but you can’t just do half of autumn! I need time to adjust, to prepare myself mentally for the horrible, biting, holy crap it’s cold of the next five months! And it will be cold, too, cold and wet and awful, because there is too much latent moisture in the atmosphere and it’s making for tremendous weather systems that will flatten us just like last year. Possibly worse. I don’t like having to dig a tunnel out from the second-floor balcony of my apartment!
Curse you, global warming!