10 September 2008

Butternut Novel Writing

My two year old helped me grocery shop a couple days ago, and since I was in a generous mood, when she latched onto a creamy orange gourd I figured was some kind of squash, I bought it. After we took it home, I did enough research to confirm it was, indeed, a butternut squash, and the dishes one could make out of it were many and varied. I found recipes for soups, fries, lasagna, pizza (with goat cheese), cracker spread, stir fry, tart, au gratin, ravioli, crisp, sauce, pie, bread, smoothie, chow chow, and even ice cream, which kind of horrifies me, but then again, I couldn't ever recall having eaten butternut squash in my life. Maybe it was an even tastier ice cream flavor than chocolate, especially when you add spinach syrup and bits of turkey bacon.

First image from: http://glennys.blogs.com/nutrawiz/2004/11/ez_recipe_butte.html

Imagine my surprise when I got out my biggest knife and prepared to slice and dice some fry cuts and could hardly force the blade through the squash's very firm flesh.

It was a lot more like a pumpkin inside there than the little yellow squash I was used to cooking, that's for sure. And yes, our household palate is not sophisticated, but give me credit for willingness to experiment!

Second image: http://www.jodeyskitchen.com/2007/10/21/butternut-squash-part-one/ and no, that's not THIS Jody, but that part is cool.

Well, instead of getting out my pumpkin carving kit and a candle, I perservered. I tried cutting off the rind first and realized it was going to result in a trip to the emergency room if I weren't more careful, so I cut it into long, thin curves like cantaulope and then hacked, peeled and pried the skin off of those since they were easier to jab the knife through. I worked up quite a sweat and wasted a lot of edible parts. My toddler may or may not have overheard some particularly choice four letter words, but in the end we had a nice portion of dices, which we sprinkled with a little olive oil, garlic, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Third image from: http://bostonchef.blogspot.com/2007/10/roasted-butternut-squash-soup.html

The end result?

Frankly, it was delicious. At least, *I* thought so.

The toddler, who'd chosen the squash and "helped" prepare it, threw it across the dinner table with a howl of protest.

The six year old starting gagging and bleching as soon as I said the words, "I made something new!" but then pretended to like it because I said if she didn't try it, she was grounded.

Hubby liked it okay, but he didn't have seconds.

Sister appreciated the fact I hadn't made soup because she said she totally burned out on squash soup in Wisconsin.

And what does this have to do with writing, you ask? As I was struggling through the whole chopping and skinning process, I had a bit of an epiphany.

Writing a book is like cleaning and cooking a butternut squash.

There are ten billion ways you can prepare it, it's hard as hell to do the groundwork, everyone thinks they know an easier way to do it, and in the end, your "dish" is not going to be universally loved, no matter how much it cost you, no matter how much hard work you put into it.

Fourth image from: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Rice-Stuffed-Butternut-Squash

Various "easy" ways to peel and prepare a squash:





However, if the spices are right and you don't end up in the emergency room while you're trying to battle the rind, it can really hit the spot, plus it's low in calories, high in vitamins, and apparently goes great with a Pinot Noir.

Jody W.
So much cyberspace, so little time!
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