Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pumpkin-Free Zone

A little while back, while driving on the South Fork of Long Island, I got stuck in a major traffic snarl just west of “Pumpkintown.”

Yes, there is indeed such a supernatural place in Water Mill, Long Island, and literally thousands of people had decided to explore it on that fine autumn day. The massive pumpkins were outer-worldly. One man was seen wheeling a 50-pound orange orb in a baby carriage. The baby was nowhere in sight.

Once I got over my traffic stress, I had to wonder why the pumpkin gets so much attention. Sure, there’s the Cinderella story, and a pumpkin was required gear for the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. But there are plenty of other deserving squash that exist on this planet, even if they don’t have a small Long Island community named after them.

Now, this might be heresy given the fact that Halloween is nearly upon us, but it was then and there that I decided I wasn’t going to be swayed by public pressure and allow a plump self-satisfied garish orange squash to hijack my autumnal celebrations. I would stand up for under-represented squash everywhere. Take acorn squash, for example. It may not be as famous as the pumpkin, but it is more surprising, with a dark green skin concealing a saucy golden flesh. It’s got plenty of fiber and potassium, and the acorn is a symbol of independence, so it’s quite appropriate to become the focal point of my pumpkin-free campaign.

If you’d like to join me in solidarity to support squash that deserve a fair shake, why not bake this delicious Acorn Squash with Wild Mushroom Cranberry Stuffing? I clipped this vegetarian recipe from Bon Appetit in 1995 and have been making it every autumn since. It can be easily doubled, or provide a hearty meatless dinner for two. The sweet yellow flesh plays nicely with the earthy wild mushrooms and sage, and the cranberries offer a nice burst of tangy sweetness. Every bite says “autumn harvest.”

Acorn Squash – Anonymous No More!!!

©2007 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Count me in! I think acorn squash gets a bad rap because it's so hard to cut, but really the taste is delicious. And your dish has that quintessential New England look/taste/aroma. Pumpkin free, that's me!

Anonymous said...

I love your reference to the headless horseman... oh and it is great that you are giving other squash their rightful spotlight.

Diane said...

Oh...I love the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, love pumpkins and love acorn squash. Do I have to choose?
The acorn squash recipe sounds wonderful...its on my list to try.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Besides being delicious (I'm sure it is), it looks great, too, T.W.!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Lydia - I think we can start a movement! I learned this week that my boss is a fan, and his family has a favorite recipe for acorn squash fries.

Veron - it's the best story of the Halloween season. Once I even visited the graveyard in Tarrytown, New York where the legend was supposed to have occurred!

Diane - there's probably room for more than one squash in life!

Patricia - thanks! The colors are so appealing for an autumn dinner.

Kathy - I'm so sorry - I accidentally lost your comment this afternoon when I hit the wrong button. Thanks for commenting and I hope you have success with the recipe.

Bradley said...

So very lame of me , but I like to pour maple syrup on the squash and then bake it. About as easy and as simple to do.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Bradley - there is nothing lame about maple syrup and squash! In fact, it's perfect.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Here, here for the acorn squash! I just made one the other night with dates and almonds. I love it!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Hi Susan - the acorn squash does lend itself to so many options, both sweet, nutty and savoury!