Alright, we don’t actually know if summer squash could be described as “outta control,” but we do know that there’s a lot to love about squash. It tastes good, there are many varieties, some of them are beautiful, most of them can be prepared for dining pretty easily. And that can only mean one thing: It’s time for a totally factual and in no way jokey lesson on squash!

-Did you know summer squash are usually harvested before they’re ready and are almost always yellow and available during the summer months? Summer’s right now, so, like, you could get them. Point is, it’s a clever name, right?

-They’re not all yellow, though. In fact, zucchini is a summer squash and is green and, if you steam it up for about 20 minutes then stir in a little salt and butter and a dash of balsamic vinaigrette, baby—you’ve got a nice veggie going that can be served either hot or cold. Like, eat it hot the first time, but make enough so you can go cold later for a snack!

-Summer squash have absolutely amazing and Dickensian names. Names like Crookneck and Striaghtneck and Pattypan. We can practically see the opening of the lost novel now: “Having spent more than several winters sequestered within the squalid orphanarium, young Archibald Crookneck looked forward to the future, perhaps for the first time, when an old business associate of his father’s, one Balthazar Eugene Pattypan, came to free him on his sixteenth birthday. Christmas was nearing and Crookneck’s sweater had fallen into disrepair, but Pattypan’s carriage alone signaled a new life in some far-flung London neighborhood where meat pies cooled almost always on the windowsills and the detritus of society stayed behind workhorse doors and in the great steam-powered factories of Suffolkhamingtonscropscire, where cast iron stoves still were made—but rarely afforded by the urchins that assembled them. ‘I say, boy,’ cried Pattypan from the snowy drive. ‘Accompany me to Fizzleham Manor, where we shall dine on the finest winter cakes in all the land, ne’er least of which is the summer squash cake, a real and in no way fake confection, indeed!’ Aurelia Straightneck watched from the vestibule, certain she herself would receive naught but the lash that year; squash cakes for Aurelia were as distant a wish as the failed wedding of her deceased former caretaker, one Mrs. Kitty Squashingtizzle III, who perished in her wedding dress awaiting a love that had drowned in far-off seas many seasons before.”

-This fake book we’re writing up there is amazing.

-”Squash is a fruit,” our mother yelled at us last night when we told her we were writing this thing. “It has seeds, it flowers—it’s a fruit.” Thanks, mom.

-Smaller squash have tastier flavors, and you can take that to the bank. So, like, when you’re grabbing a squash in the coming days, look for the little ones and you’ll be so, so pumped. Please note that we don’t dictate all flavors in the world, and it’s possible you can get a small squash that doesn’t taste great, which is beyond our control.

-Some squash scientists theorize that squash dates back 10,000 years, making it one of the oldest-known crops ever around. There is not, as far as we know, a Methuselah squash, though, so take that however you wish.

-The name “squash” comes from the Narragansett word askutasquash, which roughly translates to “eaten raw.” Have you thanked an Indigenous person lately for them letting you live on their land and coming up with cool names for things? You should. You should do that and donate to Native causes. In fact, here’s a link to the Santa Fe Indigenous Center, an organization that has fed and helped so many through COVID-19. Donate today. Now, even. Prove you did with a screenshot of some kind, and maybe we’ll put you into the next faux-Dickens story we write.

-Pumpkins are squash. Duh.

We were trying to find songs about squash, and this weeeeeeeeeeird thing happened.

¡SUMMER SQUASH RECIPE ALERT!

This one comes from our mom, who was always forcing us to squash when we were young. It’s easy to make, delicious, and mostly good for you (because it’s squash).

You’ll Need

  • Some kind of summer squash (as much as you think you can eat)
  • Fingerling or sweet potatoes (or whatever kind you want; as much as you can eat...or more than one kind if you wish)
  • 2 tsp. breading (like panko)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 tsp. salt (of sea, of the land—your choice)
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 freaking bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. red chile powder (Chimayo if you’re smart)
  • 3 to 5 Baby Bella mushrooms sliced not too thin
  • A heart full of love (no fear, no regret)

The Steps

  1. Preheat your oven to 425
  2. Sauté your mushrooms
  3. Slice squash and potatoes so they look like little misshapen circles (not too thick) and plop ‘em in a bowl
  4. Get that olive oil in there and stir it all around until you’re like, “Dang, looks coated good”
  5. Let it sit for a sec to absorb that olive oil goodness. Like, 3 minutes is good
  6. Fling the other ingredients in and mix and match until some of the sides are kinda breaded
  7. Place in your oven for about 15 minutes, maybe 13 if you feel lucky (#SnakeEyes)

Serve It

  • Once it’s out, place mushrooms on top of the squash and the mushrooms
  • Place over literally anything meaty or
  • Serve with a nice salad or
  • We think this would be good in taco form, too, or
  • You could drizzle some balsamic glaze over them...oh. em. gee. that sounds amazing, or
  • Pop some grated parm all up on there

You’re Now Mayor of Crispy City

-Congratulations on the election

Oh, is this not the song you hear in your head when you’re preparing squash?

And now, a word from our readers

We are truly heartened to receive your many kind emails in response to last week’s Fork, wherein we were like “Don’t be mean to waiters and don’t hang up jerky signs,” among MANY other words and thoughts.

Here are a few (edited for space and clarity) missives from y’all:

I only occasionally send you laudatory emails, even though I like your column all the time. This week, if only to make my small contribution to balancing the favorable vs. unfavorable ratio of responses, I am writing to thank you for your well-written and unambiguous endorsement of decency, and exposure of hypocrisy and stupid-headed meanness.

-Joel B

The industry clearly needs an overhaul or at least a major attitude adjustment. And arrogant restaurant patrons do need a wake-up call. Maybe you should read your letter on YouTube. I predict it would go viral!

-Patricia R

We live out near Eldorado, and I’ve been telling neighbors who repeat the “nobody wants to work” tripe (mmmmm…tripe!) that “Look, would you want to serve maskholes who are going to cough in your face because that will somehow make America grate for anything less than $20/hour?” Most of them get thoughtful and say I’ve got a point there.

-Dave P

Really appreciated the article on restaurant work—worst job I ever had. As a busboy, it was sheer hell. Also, REALLY appreciated the English lesson on the correct use of the word “gantlet.” You nailed it. Always enjoy your column.

-Henry J

I LOVED your article on Waitergate. Thank you for standing up for workers! P.S. I’ve never been a waiter/waitress because I thought I couldn’t handle it—I’d surely spill coffee all over someone, like I do myself! I sure hope that I ACT like I’ve been one, though.

-Julia S

I personally think that after COVID and the last 15 months everyone deserves the right to consider a better life, lifestyle, nurture what they have and live better in whatever way works for them. You only have one life make it worth every moment!

-Kitty A

The hardest job I ever had was serving. I sucked at it (big time) and I lasted about 3 weeks, just long enough to make the money I needed for airfare to get home for a family special birthday. My medium-ish list of jobs is tame and Boomer middle class--babysitting, retail, camp counselor, secretarial, tutoring. And then many years of teaching. Serving was harder than all of them. I learned to appreciate people who do it willingly and well—it is a gift, and I don’t have it.

-Vicki H

You totally nail the situation. And those signs are gross, entitled and a true testament to the fact that yes, you actually do work for an asshole.

-Jackie C

The idea that many restaurant workers have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet, and STILL almost never get benefits, is mind-blowing. How did we get here? And now that we have time to think about it, we need to change it up. A little close-to-affordable health care and child care would be a nice touch, too. Is that socialist, or just caring about our community?

-Ben B

I love you.

Alicia J

This is the first Fork article I’ve read entirely (sorry) and the only time I’ve ever submitted a comment to anything ever written. But regarding the piece about the shortage of restaurant staff (and its perceived reasons), I wholeheartedly agree 100% with you and I hope a lot of people learn from this.

-Christina Y

Basically us.

Also

-While other food writers would try to stop you from reading as much food stuff as you can, we’d never do you like that, so hear us now when we tell you about The Bite, a new sister publication to our BEST FREAKING FOOD FRIENDS at Edible New Mexico. “I think of The Bite as Edible’s alter ego—a dirtier, dishier, bolder collaborator in the adventure of eating food and drinking drinks in New Mexico (and occasionally beyond).” That sounds kind of like The Fork (we’re dirty as hell), but we take it as flattery.

-We’ve dispatched an emissary to the new Golden Land Café on St. Michael’s Drive because they have EVERYTHING from sushi and noodles to poke and New Mexican items. We’re pumped to hear what the writer says. Y’all been there?

-Word on the street is that Chang’s Dumplings lost its chef and will no longer have an outpost at downtown food hall CHOMP. Huge bummer for dumpling fans and we hope things get better.

-Meanwhile, on Johnson Street in Santa Fe, the sign for Italian spot Pranzo has gone up on the former Shohko Sushi building. We know we’ve told y’all about this before, but the sign going up means it might be ready soon. Fingers crossed?

-Lastly in local food/sign jazz, a sign for a new Mexican restaurant called Dos Amigos recently appeared on the former Souper Salad location in Midtown. Y’all, there has never been a better time for taco fans in Santa Fe.

More Tidbits

-Heads up, Tyson Chicken fans—the biggest-ass chicken company in the dang country has recalled 8.5 million pounds of frozen, fully cooked chicken over possible listeria contamination. We’d point out if you’re still buying Tyson chicken, you’re pretty much supporting the devil, but still—don’t get sick.

-Eater-dot-com’s Amanda Kludt has been killing it over there while covering the great 2020/2021 delivery surge. In Kludt’s most recent piece, find out who’s really in charge when it comes to delivery workers.

-Turns out Gordon Ramsay was filming in Cornwall, England, and inadvertently ruined a couple’s wedding. First off, if Gordon Ramsay is around your wedding, count yourself lucky because he’s cool and cooks like an emmer-effer, and secondly, Ramsay reportedly took to Twitter-dot-com to offer the newlyweds a free meal. Class. Fucking. Act. Meanwhile, they’ve got a killer story forever and, like, can probably shut up.

-Taste-of-Home-dot-com just got the memo about why so-called Mexican Coke is better than American (we mean the soda). Show of hands, Fork Fans, who already knew this whole time without this dumb website acting like they’ve got the scoop of the century.................it’s all of us? Yeah, Taste-of-Home-dot-com, it’s all of us.

-Lastly in not-just-local news this week, Popsugar-dot-com continues to act like sometimes going to Trader Joe’s is a personality trait while also shining a light on a cheese that tastes like garlic bread that is available at the grocery chain. Ummmm, yes. We’ll set aside how weird we think full articles on Trader Joe’s are to point out we want that cheese.

A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence

In this week’s print edition of SFR, the regular staff had some pretty amazing brekkie b’s from the sound of it.

Number of Letters Received

74

*Sorry we called you monsters.

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)

“It’s ‘gauntlet,’ you fucking idiot.”

*Lots of folks wrote us about this, so we think you should follow this link

Actually Helpful Tip(s)

“I saw they have triple stuffed Oreos now.”

*Now here’s something with which we can all do something!

____________________________________________________

Kinda salty,

The Fork