Squash. Just listen to that word one more time. Squash ... one of the English language's most painful words, along with maim and trauma and rend and okra and Liberace. Why would anyone want to eat something that sounds as though someone sat on it?
The bottom-line truth is, cooks all over the place love a challenge, and they have tried valiantly to turn squash into an edible dish. To do this, they take one tenth of a portion of squash, boil as much of the squashiness as they can out of it, then immerse it in nine-tenths something that tastes good and hope no one will notice. You know, stuff like chili, mutton, edible vegetables, nuclear waste, cottonwood bark, bourbon and even chocolate. Then, when you can't taste the squash in it, and most of the slime has settled to the bottom, they smile and say,
"How do you like my 'Squash Canneloni ala Hershey con Brio?"
Let's face it; squash is an unwanted growth on an otherwise perfectly good vine. It starts with a pretty little blossom that inspires Navajo jewelry and attracts bees. Then it begins its insidious malignancy into something that should probably be surgically removed.
"I'm sorry Mr. and Mrs. Smith," says the surgeon, "your squash is in an area that is impossible to reach without endangering the life of the vine. Your vine is pretty much doomed to produce something that - when cooked properly - will still gag a sick dog off a gut truck."
They even try to fool people who might consider buying squash into thinking it tastes like something else. Something like butter. Or acorns. Or crooked necks. Makes you wonder what crime against mankind Mr. Zucchini committed to be forever more squash-damned in the history books.
But it's fall now. Autumn ... that time of year when children play in the lazy sunshine and squash vines go belly up. And when we enjoy our pumpkin pie and jack o'lanterns, we'll smile quietly, knowing we'll once again be squash free for a few blessed months.