We were enjoying our cider doughnuts on a crisp fall morning with coffee and warm cider when my son became mesmerized by two men working on a project near by. Turns out they were carefully wiping excess dirt off a crop of butternut squash. They'd lift them one-by-one from a crate, wipe them with a cloth and then place them in a fresh display crate. "Very interesting", my son said to us as he watched them. After 15 minutes, I asked him if he wanted to go over and ask the guys what they were doing. My son jumped up enthusiastically, took me by the hand, and pulled me toward the men and their squash. "Excuse me. What are you doing?". These two burly, flannel shirt wearing guys stopped their rhythmic routine to give my son their take on all things "butternut squash". He listened with careful intent and nodded periodically, never saying a word. We thanked them and then made our way out into the orchard for some apple picking.
We returned some thirty minutes later with a big bag of Crispin apples. "Come on over. I have something for you" one of the same guys yelled to my son. After receiving mom's nod of approval, he walked over and looked up as a butternut squash was ceremonially placed in his hands. I yelled "thank you" and my boy came running over to show us his squash. I've never seen anyone this excited about a squash and probably never will again.
As we drove home, I saw in the rear view mirror that he was cradling the squash carefully in his lap. When it was nap time an hour later, he asked if he could sleep with his butternut squash. I told him he could keep it on the bedside table. "So I can keep it close by, mom?". "Yes", I nodded.
While he slept my husband and I shared a laugh about our son's fascination with the squash. What we didn't anticipate though, was that this fascination would turn into a now two-week-long obsession! Although I knew he was listening closely to the fellas at Saratoga Apple, we've now come to understand what he learned. For one, they're "baked in the oven and covered with brown sugar and butter". "The guy says that's the best way to eat them, mom", he shared. Since my husband and I both agree with this cooking methodology, we tried to convince him to release the butternut squash from his grip long enough for us to "try out the recipe".
"NOT THIS BUTTERNUT SQUASH, MOM!"
So it is. I suppose the only thing I can do now is police the squash to keep and eye out for rot. In the meantime, the butternut squash is just part of the family.