When we were growing up, my mother cooked dinner every night. There was always a protein, a vegetable, and a starch except on Sundays when one of my grandmothers cooked dinner, and the lines between the three core food groups were blurred by the honking big pot of meat sauce on the stove. Milk was the only beverage served, and it was poured from a Hall China “Orange Poppy” ceramic pitcher because milk bottles on the table were a big No-No.
The table was always set, and the food was always served in pretty serving bowls and passed around the table clockwise. We ate what Mom cooked. These were all non-negotiables. At the time, I envied my next door neighbor girlfriends who got to sit in front of the television and have TV Dinners on Thursday nights.
Mom was a single parent, worked full-time, and was a fabulous cook. I was her sous chef and worked by her side to get dinner on the table for our large family. Helping with dinner was a point of pride for me. Mom and I were a team. While structured family meals have undergone a lot of change in the past fifty years, the way I prepare acorn squash remains the same. Mom knew how to prepare “adult” foods so children would eat them.
4 acorn squashes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups unsweetened “natural” applesauce
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mise en Place:
Preheat oven to 400º
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Make cinnamon sugar: mix 4 teaspoons sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.
Cut off each end of acorn squash. Cut off as little as is necessary to stabilize the squash so it will sit upright.
Cut squash in half. Admire nature’s bounty.
Scoop out seeds. Coat the interior and top edges of each squash half with EVO.
Add about a quarter cup (or more) of applesauce to each squash half.
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar followed by a little cracked pepper. Place squash halves on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Roast for about one hour, until browned and fork-tender. Serve in a pretty serving dish.
Mom and I in the kitchen. She was tiny, but strong!
Cooking Dinner in an Unfocused Way, or Ode to the Rice Cooker
Brooks’s Pork Tenderloin with the Most Amazing Marinade
Judy’s Mom’s Meatloaf
Mom’s Marinated and Grilled Lamb
Mom’s Apple Pie (with a cheddar streusel topping)
Mom’s Pumpkin Pie
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© 2017 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.