Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Refined Palate

     I was given some fresh garden squash today by a co-worker, and I must now try to make something edible out of it. Or, more precisely, my lovely wife must try to make something edible. She would say that I'm a picky eater, but she would be wrong.
     As my co-worker and I were discussing today, there are plenty of ways to ruin a perfectly good squash. She, for example, is not a fan of squash casserole, preferring to slice the squash, dip it in milk, and then bread it in flour and meal before plunging it into hot oil and deep frying it.  Frankly, that method of cooking would make virtually anything a tasty treat.
     Sadly, many people in my family are enamored of the casserole-i-zation of food.  I don't know if they liked the convenience or were convinced that putting a bunch of different foods together and baking them actually improved the taste.
     I remember the big hit for years at family get-togethers was something called a garden casserole, which I believe my Aunt Ruth came up with.  As I remember it, you took cooked ground beef and put it into the casserole dish and then added potatoes, beans, peas, carrots, onions and whatever other garden vegetables you could come up with.  I wouldn't be surprised if there was some squash in there, too.  Then the whole think was topped with biscuit dough and baked in the oven.  Everyone in the family thought the resulting dish was great.
      Everyone but me.
     And the thing is, I liked each of the items contained in that casserole, when they were prepared individually and separately and put on a plate in the way God intended them to be.  Mixing them together in a giant glass bowl and baking them was just, as I recall I said at the time, "Yucky."
     Of course, my palate has been refined over the years and, no matter what my wife says,  I'm a far more adventurous eater than I was as a child. That refined palate still doesn't tolerate certain foods -- lima beans, hominy, liver and shellfish to name a few. But maybe if I mixed them together and baked them into a casserole....