Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Well, count vegetables among the things I am illiterate about, along with movies, popular music, and why anyone considers Fox News to be journalism.

It was Lab Day yesterday, which meant that Kim wasn't going to be home much before 6 if at all, so dinner was on me. Now, normally this is not a problem. I'm generally the one who gets home first anyway, so more often than not I'm the one cooking dinner. I like cooking dinner, though I have to admit that I'm not as interested in what I make as I used to be. It's just fuel. Getting old, I guess.

We learned a few years ago that we need to make dinner menus for the week.

For one thing, it means that our grocery shopping trips are much more efficient. You would be surprised at the things that fall into your cart on the whimsical thought that you might get to cooking them sometime if the stars line up and the creek don't rise. And since food packaging people are getting far too creative these days about the things that show up on grocery shelves, keeping that kind of adventurism in check is a safety issue.

For another, it cuts way down on the 4:45pm phone calls that start out, "Any idea what you'd like to eat tonight?" and end up with, "Well, there's gotta be something interesting in the house." There usually is something interesting in the house, but whether it is a) preparable in the time remaining between arrival home and abject starvation, b) reasonably healthy, or at least moderately non-lethal, or c) recognizable as food even if correctly prepared, are all open questions.

So. Menus.

Kim did the menu for this week. Well, I did it, but since we had some late shifts to last week's menu, which Kim actually did, I just moved the meals we didn't get to onto this week. Easy. Cheaper too, since we'd already gotten the stuff. The problem was that last night's meal called for spaghetti squash.

And it was Lab Day, which meant that Kim wasn't going to be home much before 6, as noted.

So I went looking for a spaghetti squash.

What exactly is a spaghetti squash, anyway? Spaghetti I understand. Noodles - thin ones, covered in gravy (which is spaghetti sauce to you non-Italians, or "red sauce" to you midwesterners). Often adorned with meatballs. Got it. Squash I understand too - that is a game played by people I do not wish to know, involving little paddles, hypersonic rubber balls, and discussions of portfolios and white wine.

How do these things mix?

Eventually I found something that looked like it might be a spaghetti squash. At any rate it was clearly a vegetable. It was sort of beige and vaguely pear-shaped, though with the heft of a small cat and the texture of a paving brick. Yep, I thought, I could squash something with this.

So I cut it open.

Now, I've had spaghetti squash before and lived to tell about it, and the one thing I do remember about it was that it was stringy. Spaghetti-like, even. This was not stringy. It was orange inside, and rather firm.

And it was at this point that Tabitha wandered over and asked me what I thought I had in my hands. A spaghetti squash, I told her. "No, dad," she patiently explained. "That's a winter squash."

Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit.

Kim, of course, thought this was funny, and was very proud of Tabitha's squash-discerning skills. Apparently all that gardening this summer paid off.

We'll have to put this on Tabitha's weekly "Name two things you are proud of your child for this week" report that her teacher makes us turn in. The second one might just be "not laughing at dad while pointing out the correct name of the squash."


KimK said...

Butternut. :)

Kathleen said...

Elise and Nola are very good friends with the kids in a family whose dad is the squash coach at Brown University. They are actually not bad sorts. :)

Katherine McKay said...

Did I ever tell you about the time I set out to make a zucchini omelette when I was about 16 and the "zucchini"I cooked turned out to be a cucumber? It's in the DNA, kiddo.