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As I write this, Thanksgiving is about a week away. Every year my little family eagerly gathers to celebrate the holiday with an extravagant feast that makes a British Royal Family banquet look like a box lunch prepared for a third grade field trip.
Over the decades, I have developed, tweaked, and perfected an elaborate Thanksgiving menu, much to the delight of my clan. Our annual blowout includes Creamy Chestnut Soup, Dandy Brandied Candied Yams, Maple Sugar Acorn Squash with Spicy Roasted Pepitas, Savory Corn Pudding, Scalloped Potatoes with Leeks and Bacon, Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Sunchokes, and of course, Roast Turkey with Chestnut Cornbread Stuffing (along with the subsequent procession of turkey sandwiches, turkey tetrazzini, turkey burritos, and turkey soup). Not to mention my bespoke gravy, two kinds of festive seasonal libations, three kinds of cranberry sauce, four kinds of pie, and five kinds of ice cream.
But this year will be different. For the first time I can remember, I’m spending the holiday cooking for one. Thanksgiving in the Time of COVID.
So I decided that I’d track down a teeny turkey (just prep it and throw it in the oven unadorned) and pick up a wee winter squash (same technique) – no behemoths: no humongous Hubbard, no massive Marina Di Chioggia, no colossal Crookneck no matter how curvaceous.
And that was the genesis of this series. It started innocently enough with a run to the farmers’ market to procure said diminutive squashlet but upon arriving I spotted a vendor who was flaunting about two dozen varieties. Jeez. Now, those of you who visit here know that food decisions are anathema to me; hell, I’ve learned how to say “one of each, please” in fourteen languages. So what you see in this photo is what I bought during my first trip. Yes, I said “first” because after I brought them home, I ran back and grabbed a few more. (Hey, that that’s how I roll. Nothing succeeds like excess. Reread that Thanksgiving menu if you don’t believe me.)
Anyway, in the following posts, I’ll feature each of these (plus a few more), offer a little info, show you what I’ve done with them, and identify a few favorites from the squash patch – so stay tuned for the next installment!