In Which I Embrace Winter

Lately I have been daydreaming about driving up the coast to Maine, staying in a beachfront house stocked with all the kitchen supplies one could dream of, having picnics on the beach and feasting on lobster which I have prepared myself every evening. The lobster wouldn’t even need melted butter, because it would be that good. My mornings would be spent sipping on herbal tea (no need for coffee in Maine) and eating a cold slice of pie from the previous day’s dessert. I’d linger over my pie for at least an hour, sitting on a screened in porch and watching jealous seagulls eyeing me from the sand. In my daydream it is mid-August and this vacation lasts all the way to Labor Day, at least. Where this vision is coming from, I am not sure. It could have started when I watched Annie Hall a few weeks ago, or maybe it has something to do with the book I am currently reading: Laurie Colwin’s More Home Cooking.

The thing about Laurie is, her cooking is down-to-earth, easy-to-make, and just so sensible. And yet many chapters of her book reference some fantastic trip she has taken, to Mallorca or some more homely location on the East Coast. Either way, these vacations always sound so relaxing, delicious, and just plain luxurious. They also make me feel I am severely lacking in money, vacation time, and well-off friends willing to share their beachfront homes. Seriously, when do I get to spend a month in Mallorca preparing stuffed squid and wandering the local towns in search of the best loaf of freshly baked bread? Sigh.

Since even if I were somehow to strike it rich, I still couldn’t do anything about the fact that it is nearly December, and August with all its perfect beach weather is a good eight months away, I have decided to do what I usually do in these hopeless situations: I embraced my circumstances (i.e. the weather and my scarce resources). And, thus, I bring you roasted acorn squash. It is unassuming, inexpensive, decidedly easy to make and definitely not something that can be readily found in your supermarket unless the temperature has recently dipped below fifty degrees. So, take that, Summer, there are some things you don’t bring to the table. This dish also makes a very fast, if somewhat insubstantial, dinner.

Brown Sugar Roasted Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 pinch cinnamon

1 pinch nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Pour some water into a baking dish with edges. Get as much water as you can in without it spilling over the edges whenever you try to move the pan. This helps prevent the acorn squash from drying out.

Halve the acorn squash lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds and membrane. Use a fork to poke holes in the orange flesh of the acorn squash.

Place both halves, skin down, on the baking sheet. Fill each half with 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar. Put a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon on each half.

Place the acorn squash in the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes. it is ready when a fork inserted in the middle is not met with much resistance and the flesh seems easy to scoop.

Enjoy on a cold day, and have no regrets about the lack of beach weather. And if you haven’t bought tickets to the Cookie Takedown yet, do! It is guaranteed to have you fully embracing winter.


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