The Sibling and I were at Wightman’s, a local old-and-posh farm market the other day, buying the traditional Autumn Food of Olympus (freshly baked doughnuts and farm-pressed home-orchard apple cider). Before going into the store, we gazed in awe at the monumental Blue Hubbard squashes displayed for sale in the outside bins. I know about them from reading Ruth Stout’s praises of their flavor and texture (only old organic types are likely to know about RS, but we bow at her name). They are great big knobbly winter gourds, and do actually have a bluish cast to their skins.
They are the monarchs of winter squashes, more delicious than all the others. They are also a backwards illustration of the economies of scale. UNLESS you have either enough people in your household to cook for (we don’t) OR an extra freezer (ditto), the Hubbards’ economies are not for you. They speak of a more expansive era, when people like my maternal grandma and great-aunts grew up in a big farming family, acquired the skills to feed a crowd, and were like as not in a situation where they had space to grow big vegetables and/or lots of vegetables. In an overpopulated urban-suburban world of too many electronics and not enough clean air or unpaved ground, you have to make many special arrangements, some of them downright socialistic, to do something as simple as bring a dish of steaming, fragrant baked Hubbard squash to the table,
This next year I’m going to see what I can do about joining a CSA group. There are several good ones around here. I hope things will have settled down, economically and otherwise, for a while.