Food from Heaven

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As I cut the butternut squash in half length-wise, a sweet aroma tickled my nose.  I marveled at the beautiful orange color that was contained within the thick, pale skin and took pleasure scooping the seeds and stringy flesh out of this fruit.  I cut the squash into cubes and thought to myself, “Yes, this is what God had in mind.”

I took pride in the fact that I was cooking natural.  Our vegetable dish wasn’t coming from a bag in the microwave but from the ground to my hands (with a short stop at the store in between).  My senses were delighted through the process of preparing this squash, something I had never done before.  My husband and I have never been big vegetable lovers but were trying to change our affections for the sake of healthy living and providing good role-models for our children.

As I tossed the cubes in a little olive oil, I thought to myself that I had never liked many vegetables because they hadn’t gone through this process.  If I had seen their true colors, smelled their sweet scents, broken their crisp skin with my teeth instead of forcing myself to swallow the limp, drab vegetables that came from a can, perhaps I would have had a love affair with food from the Earth a long time ago.

I completed this new recipe with enthusiasm for the finished product–bleu cheese mashed with lemon juice, red onions and baby leaf spinach, all mixed together with the beautiful, roasted butternut squash.  I knew I had a winner, and the choir would sing.

When I tasted the final product, a smile spread across my lips.  The bleu cheese didn’t overpower the squash, the red onions gave the perfect combination of sweet and bite, and the spinach lay beneath every satisfying bite.

I had decided the squash would serve as the main dish with a few slices off a piece of leftover steak as the side.  Magic.  A healthy, satisfying dinner for my family.

I plated the food and carried the end product to my children, and immediately Caleb spoke:

“Thanks, Mom, for making me meat!”

I encouraged Caleb to try the squash to which he licked a piece.  “Plaaagh.  I don’t like it.”

“Well, nothing tastes great if you only lick it,” I encouraged him.

He took a bite, the smallest bite possible, only shaving 1/100th of a cube of squash with his teeth.

“I don’t like it,” he said in disgust while shaking his head.

“Hannah Grace, try your vegetables,” I ordered.

She copied her brother exactly, licking a piece of her squash. “I don’t wan it,” she insisted. “I wan ketchup.”

I sighed and got up in search of ketchup packets for the steak.  The fact that my children were putting ketchup on steak almost saddened me as much as the fact as they would only lick their vegetables.

I squeezed the red globs on their plates and stared at the food I really wanted them to eat.  Hannah Grace had let me down; she always tried everything.  Caleb was perplexing.  How did his little taste buds change so much from when he was a baby?  Squash used to be one of his staples.

“Mom, this meat is delicious!” Caleb exclaimed, interrupting my thoughts.

I knew then the butternut squash would not enter his mouth again. I had given him food from heaven, but he was more excited about the dead cow on his plate.

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By request–Whole Food’s Recipe for Butternut Squash with Wilted Spinach

4 thoughts on “Food from Heaven

  1. “I wan ketchup.” That must be from the Vignola side. I'm 28 and put ketchup on steak. Oh who am I kidding, I put ketchup on mostly everything!

    In any case, your squash dish sounds pretty good! If you want to incorporate more vegetable dishes into your kids' diets, try spaghetti squash. They'll think it's noodles and it's so yummy! Acorn squash is good, too. I think my mom used to stuff it with a bread crumb mixture.

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