As a child, there were some things I just would NOT eat, no matter how you bribed or threatened me. I despised broccoli, peas, and mushrooms. I would not eat potato salad unless my mother made it. Sauerkraut? NO WAY! Calamari? Ewwww! Let’s not even mention *shudder* Brussels Sprouts.
Part of my dislike for certain foods I’m sure stemmed from the way they were cooked. My first food recollections are from the early 70’s, and anyone who has spent much time looking at pictures of food on the Internet has surely seen some of those “delightful” pictures of “gourmet” meals from the lovely ladies magazines of the time. Just one look at some of those creations is enough to turn my stomach now! Mayonnaise and fruit salads, sauces that look curdled and just off, too much food dye to be healthy for anyone – I just can’t take it. Not to mention the penchant some folks had for boiling everything to a near-mush state. It’s hard to be excited about eating vegetables that have all the mouthfeel of wallpaper paste.
My mother tried. She tried to make new things every once in a while, because I’m sure she, like me, got bored with making the same damn breaded pork chops with applesauce and green beans on the side, the same damn meatloaf, the same damn chicken, week in and week out. We, her ungrateful family, just wanted her to stick to the things she cooked the best.
At some point, I think my mother tried making Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash. (Eric, my darling spouse, says his Mom made it on a somewhat regular basis in the fall and winter.) As a child it should have appealed to me – I loved sausage and I liked squash, and eating something contained in its own dish should have appealed to me. The attempt must have failed because I really don’t remember eating it as a child. Eric says he would eat the sausage and leave the squash, which would irritate his mother.
About 5 years ago I changed the way I eat and started eating more vegetables and less refined carbohydrates. Eric suggested Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash, as it was an easy dinner. It sounded good and tasty to me, it was winter, so I agreed and we tried making it.
Our first attempt was a failure of sorts – we had no fixed recipe or idea how to do this. I figured Eric would look up a recipe online and make that. No, he doesn’t operate that way – ever. He went by his memory of his mother making it, about 35 years ago. “You take a pound chub of breakfast sausage and a large acorn squash. Split the squash, take out the seeds, cut the sausage in half, stick a half in each squash, put some maple syrup on the exposed side, and bake at 350° for an hour.” Our first attempt took almost 90 minutes. The top of the sausage was a little burned, the acorn squash took forever to cook filled that way, and the top was charred.
We tried again, this time with only half the sausage – results were better, but it still took too long to make.
The third time we tried cooking the sausage first and then baking the squash filled with cooked sausage. It took less time than before but it also didn’t taste quite right. Might have been the lack of sausage grease in the squash.
Eventually, we just gave up on stuffing the squash and cooked bratwurst to go along with roasted acorn squash. Sometimes I still look for recipes for stuffed acorn squash, because I still like the idea of eating something baked in its own container, and because I want to put that picture of a squash half, with a piece of sausage still shaped like the chub it came out of, completely to rest.