Happy Equinox!

Posted: March 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

This is my first post, so you don’t know that Mark Bittman is my Julia Child.   Specifically, his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is my cooking bible.  And he doesn’t pay me royalties to say that, so you can trust me.

I picked the above (below?) recipe because I had a butternut squash.  Mr. Man (aka Mark, my fiance) and I typically eat healthier than most.  We’ve both been lacto-ovo vegetarians for a long time (24 years for him, cow-less for 21 and bird- and fish-less for 16 for me).  However, my diet’s not perfect, and I moved in to (now, our) house last March and somehow ballooned 15 lbs (since removed).  Nachos can be completely meat- and lard-free, you know.

I’ve always been a foodie, loving to eat terrific food at the best restaurants I’ve been able to afford.  But I haven’t been a food-assembler (if I said I was a ‘cook’, I’d be lying) until recently.  I made the decision to make food at home more for the following good reasons:

1.  Where I live, suburban vegetarians live in the 1st circle of culinary hell, with the small salvation that is the occasional family-owned Indian restaurant.  And sesame tofu’s great.  And a zillion calories.  And it gets old after while.  Okay, I’m a food snob.  I lived in Chicago.  I’ve been lucky enough to travel.  I am spoiled.  I know this.  The Rock Bottom Brewery has a good, valid place in this world, and that place isn’t known for its innovative cuisine.  Or…any…. ‘cuisine’, necessarily.

2.  Holy cow!  Did you know that home-grown zucchinis (which even *I* am able to grow) taste light years better than grocery store varieties???  And tomatoes come in different colors?  And that home-grown tomatoes taste amazing, even raw??  How come I’m the last to know this?!?!  (It miiiiiiight be that whole I-went-to-a-raging-feminist-university-thing-where-anything-domestic-is-automatically-bad-where-we’re-too-educated-to-cook-clean-or-sew…thing….I really tried to eradicate that and be all post-feminist and I’m really-a-decent-quilter-now, but I might have failed in some parts…)

3.  Mr. Man and I are not made of money.  I don’t know actually anybody who is made of money.  And the money we do have, we’re socking away for our honeymoon in Italy, (where the Italians cook, and make wine, and let you have them for a reasonable fee!  (What a fantastic country!))  Point is, I figure I can probably make palatable food at home at less expense.

4.  I gained 15lbs eating food that wasn’t fabulous.  That’s an insult to injury.  I’m a nurse for chrissakes, I know what foods are good and good for me.  I mean, I LIKE broccoli!  I’ve gotten rid of the weight eating unflavored leaves with the occasional sunflower seed  (I’ll tell you how fun that was), I’m thinkin I can probably make good food that won’t make me wide.

5.  I don’t have MSG or high fructose corn syrup in my pantry.  I kinda figure my corpse should decompose after I die.  I don’t want to be pickled with preservatives.  Just sayin.  (I’m sorry, I’m a nurse, and if grossness and frankness about body stuff is off-putting to you…well,…so kind of you to stop by, thank you, but this blog is just not for you.)

SO.  It’s the Vernal Equinox:  the spring point in time where night and day hours are equal.  Ostara, in some circles.  We’ve got a huge full moon out there, as big as it will be until 2029.  So, I chose a traditional Celtic (er, well) recipe:  Bittman’s Thai-style butternut squash.  Well.  It’s something hungry Celts in distant times would have eaten if they had, you know…coconuts.  Which.  They did not.  Unless they had very well-trained sparrows*.

I changed some things in the recipe, and I think Bittman, and all the fabulous cookbook authors I plan to read/study/try, would approve of people having fun with the recipes.  I will post the recipes, and the sources, in the hopes the chefs that came up with them don’t sue me.  I’m a new food-assembler and I’m journalling my experiments.  I will put of my significant changes for all of the recipes I post in italics, in case my versions are less than savory.  (I’ll let you know how it turned out, so you know what not to do, too…)


I have other purposes in mind for this blog.  I used to have a nursing blog, that I’d like to revive in part here.  Much of my time is spent in an intensive care unit, trying to stop people from dying….and sometimes just trying to get through the day.  It’s part of me, and every day I see unhealthy people.  Some are sick.  Some are hurt.  Some are unhealthy.  It’s the unhealthy ones that make me want to cook and garden and quilt and crochet do all that domesticy stuff that my 1st feminist university degree told me not to value.  Sick and hurt are like lightning strikes, that can and do happen to any of us.  Unhealthy is preventable.

Once upon a time, I journalled every day.  Before I moved in with Mr. Man, I had five boxes of spiral-bound notebooks, and I recycled them all one day.  I found that while I valued very much the act of recording the comings and goings of my stupid little life, I never needed to keep it.  Or reread it.  Or have others read it.  (Seriously, have you ever tried to slog through the journals of, for example, Anais Nin?)  I want to write down what I’m doing first for my own clarity, for reference of food I’m making, veggies I’m growing, maybe quilts I’m making, I dunno…  But also, it’s an efficient way for me to share recipes.  😀  And I don’t have to kill trees this way.

The reams of my hand-written journal pages were written to two different artists, now dead.  I always imagined I could hear their spirits, their voices.  Maybe I’ll do the same here, since I don’t expect an audience.  (Other than maybe my mom.  I love you, Mom.)  I’ll have to think about who I might write to now.  I’m happy, healthy, energetically diving into new aspects of living, getting a decent stride in my most recent career iteration, a bride-to-be (and stepmom-to-be)….and weirdly facing 40.  I didn’t know that 39 was one of those start-fresh years.  Mine seems to be.

Should be a good thing.  Welcome, anybody.


*  Mom and Dad:  It’s a Monty Python joke.


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