As I have matured, I’ve learned to like my vegetables crisp and crunchy. I’ve been known to put raw slices of yellow squash and green zucchini on my lettuce at a salad bar. My grandmother would be turning over in her grave that I’d be eating them raw. Yet, this week, I harvested some “just past the right size” yellow squash from my garden and what immediately came to mind was my mom’s southern style squash.
So what does southern style mean. Well, it means cooked till the squash is almost transparent and so mushy you could eat it without your dentures. Now, it’s not just squash mind you. There are a couple of other key ingredients required. For one – bacon fat. Lots of it. And a big yellow onion, sliced thin. Some salt, pepper and you are good to go.
Basically, the recipe is sliced squash and one large onion, preferably Videlia, of course. Get a big skillet, add in two to three generous tablespoons of bacon fat and heat until not quite smoking. Add the onions. Cook them until they are a bit limp. Add the sliced yellow squash. Add salt and pepper to taste and cover all with water.
Let them come to a hard boil and then turn them down to simmer on the stove for a week or so. No, not really that long. Maybe a day or so. You get the idea. Cook them forever until they are truly transparent.
Use a slotted spoon to ladle them onto your plate. Oh, and you better have enough salt in the squash because they can be really bland unless you put enough salt.
Nowhere did I say this recipe was good for you – I just said it tastes good. And to me, it’s comfort food. It evokes memories of warm, summer evenings with fried chicken, sweet ice tea and homemade mashed potatoes. When I saw those squash on the kitchen counter, I knew immediately I had to make them the way my mom did. I wasn’t sure how the rest of the family (my husband and mother-in-law – er, especially my mother-in-law) would think of the mush. Well, they loved them. Of course, we had to listen to the “what is this” from my mother-in-law but then she asks that about anything that is not meat and potatoes. The key was it had plenty of salt – to her that made it A-OK. To say she can’t taste anymore is an understatement. She wouldn’t eat any mushrooms either until she heard on TV that they are full of antioxidants. Now, they are OK to eat. But, heck, that’s another blog entry in another universe. Don’t want to go there tonight.
Now that’s I’ve gone to the dark side and made mushy squash, I guess I’m committed to mushy green beans as well. Remember though – the key ingredient – bacon fat – is the reason this all works out. I just need to go find me one of those little aluminum cans with the fat strainer in the top – you remember, the ones with the little yellow knob on the handle. Then make some bacon, drain the fat, and savor the results. Yum.
Ciao for now, y’all.