Being A Spaghetti Squash In A Pumpkin Carving World
This Is About Me
On October 13 the New York Times published Mayim Bialik’s naive op-ed about how she defines being “a feminist in a Harvey Weinstein world”.
I entered the marketplace with an oblong, mild yellow appearance, not exactly what’s featured in calendars for the month of October. I didn’t need Pinterest to know I was different than the exciting bright orange cucurbitaceae at the farmers market, and sometimes I felt like I was missing out on the attention.
Though I’m saddened to learn about the widespread seasonal mutilation of pumpkins only for their appearance, I’m not surprised. I was raised understanding exactly how the produce world works.
My farmers always put me in a conservative spot in their weekly organic stand. And they disapproved of squashes like me being spray painted orange, or otherwise aesthetically altered. They warned me about shoppers who were lured by dangerously beautiful gourds and used them only for their shells, not what’s inside. If I pretended to be something I wasn’t, this market would only see me as beneficial for decoration as a jack-o’-lantern, and never respect me for all my inner nutritional virtues.
A consumer once described me as “What is that? Do you eat that?” and their comment has stuck with me forever. Fortunately I have no experience with being invited inside a home to be cut and displayed on a porch. I’ve been afforded the luxury of being left alone by most shoppers except those counting calories or looking for more fiber in their diet.
Sometimes I wish I was more spherical, more like the idealistic gourd standard. The “hot pumpkin” who has seems to have more fun. But that comes with risk. I’ve decided my inner self is best reserved for private situations like being used in obscure casserole recipes found on CSA websites. I sit modestly at the weekly outdoor market with a group of other squash just like me, never flaunting myself obnoxiously by the entrances of hardware stores which also sell drills and saws. It’s much safer this way.
I’m aware that my opinion may be unpopular with other cucurbitaceae. In a perfect fall season, all of our squash family would be able to be displayed proudly at venues everywhere, and be valued for what’s inside. People would put us in soups and pies, instead of carving us for a few day’s pleasure, discarding our unappreciated insides. Humans would chisel those fake “craft” pumpkins from Michael’s and honor us as the food we are. But we don’t live in a perfect autumn, and it’s best to hide.
I’d love to see the squash world change. In the meantime, I would like to encourage more farmers to cultivate more pie pumpkins and those oddball pumpkins that look like they have peanuts attached but are hard to sculpt. If you’re perfectly spherical and bright orange, super. But allowing yourself be carved up just to get attention is not the way we were intended to create value. And if, like me, you’re just an average spaghetti squash, please know that one day you’ll find a loving chef who will take you home and warm you in an oven, and savor your abundant stringy flesh, which is better and smarter than that of any squash out there.