Saturday, October 16, 2010

Simplicity; or, Roasted & Squashed.

This blog post can be considered an addendum of sorts to last week's entry, addressing the same autumnal themes and also involving seasonal vegetables. Autumnal. It is a beautiful adjective, and one that this blogger intends to work into his everyday vocabulary.

Last weekend, three Stillwater mathematicians decided to attend jazz saxophone player Joshua Redman's first performance in Oklahoma in the OSU concert hall. (You see, we do have interests outside of math. We really do.) Along with another faculty member, our blogging math nerd was invited to a colleague's house, just outside of town, for a pre-concert dinner. Very nice! This colleague turned out to be not only an expert in the field of representation theory, a great cook, and an excellent host-he is also the owner of a beautiful garden filled with all kinds of interesting trees. (One of the trees was originally a sapling found in the gutter in Cambridge, MA, another sprouted from a seed imported from China.)

In his garden, our host the professor grows all kinds of vegetables and herbs. What immediately attracted everybody's attention were the very attractively colored butternut squashes. They were clearly in a perfect state of ripeness, and just looked so wholesome and healthy, growing on their vines and absorbing all the best stuff there is in the Oklahoma soil. Eating such a squash must surely be good for you! Now, being a very friendly guy indeed, the host presented each of his two guests with a  squash as we were leaving. Ooo, yum!

Cooking butternut squash is really simple-just roast it! But the end result is a very interesting experience, rich in texture and taste.


1 butternut squash
salt & pepper

Admire the magnificent squash!  Let its prettiness and autumnal qualities sink in.

Then, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Put the squash halves in a glass oven pan. Turn on the oven; make it pretty hot.

Put a teaspoon of butter where the seeds used to be, and place small pieces of butter along the length of the squash. Sprinkle salt and pepper on it, and into the oven it goes.

Wait for about 25-30 for the squash to be roasted. Read your favorite book, and listen to some relaxing music. (I reread David K. O'Hara's article about the British autumnal folk movement, featuring acts such as Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan, and Heron.) Check the squash with a fork. When it starts feeling soft, take it out and turn off the oven. Done!

Serving suggestions: "Singles" by New Order and a cup of tea.

Oh, and the Joshua Redman show was great! Make sure to check him out if he plays in your town.

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