I grew an ugly squash—small, odd shaped, with rough warty-looking scabs.
I picked it anyway, a kabocha, a pumpkin-like squash that’s dark green on the outside and deep orange inside.
The skin was so tough I wondered if I’d need a hatchet to slice it in half. I managed to cleave it in two pieces, set it in a roasting pan with some water, and bake it. Without much expectation, I scraped out the cooked insides. It seemed dry.
A few days later, I used half of the scooped-out squash to make pumpkin pie.
Lesson learned: Things are not always as they appear.
My hardscrabble, underdeveloped squash made a stupendous pie. My family and I grunted appreciatively like contented piglets as we devoured giant slices.
Same old recipe. Same old simple crust. But our homegrown, scarred kabocha yielded rich, creamy, hearty pie filling. Each triangle slice held up tall and firm, even as forks sliced easily through the silky orange pudding.
Some things look awful on the outside but hold vibrant gems on the inside.
Actually, maybe I was wrong about the squash looking awful. Maybe that’s just the nature of home-grown squash. Maybe I shouldn’t have expected grocery-store perfection. Maybe I could have seen my squash as more interesting and approached it with curiosity, rather than seeing it—and my gardening efforts—as so flawed and inferior.
I guess that’s the lesson learned: change my expectations.
Anyway—this isn’t exactly the perfect pivot, but: I have gift packs for sale if you’re shopping for the winter holidays. (Though I’m so late posting this that Hanukkah is half-way through. There’s still host/hostess gifts, Christmas, New Year, winter solstice…)
The gift packs are wrapped in my “upcycled” style, not nearly as gnarly as my squash but unique for sure, and I ship them for you, gift note included if you’d like.
You can find them all here in my Etsy shop, Carrot Condo.
Here’s to approaching squash, art, and people with curiosity and interest rather than staying stuck in our narrow expectations and judgement. Hm, I think this sparks a new year resolution … more on that later.