Acorn Squash


When people ask me if there are certain foods my kids won’t eat, I usually answer “no.” With three kids the same age, two adults who need to eat, and busy schedules, there just isn’t time to serve multiple meals for multiple kids. I don’t have room in the routine to make “kid food” and “adult food.” The kids eat what the adults do, maybe just a little less spicy.

Then sometimes things fall apart.

The acorn squash looked so pretty, and I was recently reminded how easy they are to prepare. Plus, I loved them as a kid, and I wanted to share that with my own children. This was going to be a meal that would interest them. The squash are bright and pretty, and when prepared with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, they’re only just a step or two away from a pumpkin pie. Or so I thought.

I carefully cut the acorn squash into quarters and picked out the seeds, saving them to roast later. I scored the squash in an attempt to make a nesting place for the butter after it melts. I was surprised how quickly the squash became tender: about 40 minutes at 350 degrees. The house smelled wonderful. Is there anything lovelier than the smell of butter, cinnamon and brown sugar on a cold Sunday night?

The squash cooked up beautifully and was a nice complement to a basic spaghetti pasta I put together with sliced asparagus, butter and parmesan cheese. I was proud to explain to the kids what we were eating and how I’d loved it when I was their age.

There are many times in a multiple home when a small thing goes wrong, but becomes contagious, and turns into a big thing. For instance, our baby nursery, which was set up with so much care, was promptly disassembled within weeks. One small thing that is contagious with multiples then turns into a big thing? Crying. Early on we saw that one crying baby could quickly turn into three crying babies when in close proximity. Goodbye office, hello second nursery, goodbye guest room, hello third nursery. Another sort-of small thing that turned ugly pretty quickly? A stomach virus. We had just begun to recognize that we had a child that seemed uncomfortable and hot on the forehead when the child caught us off guard and threw up. Within minutes, three children had thrown up. That really caught us off guard.

I guess that puts last night’s dinner tragedy into some perspective. The first child was kind enough to say that the squash looked very nice, but it was difficult to eat. I showed how to use a fork to scoop the squash away from its skin. Another child had already eaten the skin. A third child was refusing to allow me to help and was making a disaster of his squash.

Then I looked up and saw orange spit drooling out of the mouth of kid number two.

You win some, you lose some. Now that my kids are getting older, I’m having more winning days than when they were babies. There were a lot of disasters back then, a lot of days that felt like losing ones.

I loved the acorn squash, and so did my husband, but it didn’t work with the kids. The recipe, which is very easy, is listed below. Use caution when serving to children. I hope you have better luck turning your kids into acorn squash fans than I did.

serves four

two acorn squash, sliced into quarters


brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop seeds out of squash. Score the inside of the squash into an “x” with a knife. Place butter, brown sugar and cinnamon onto each slice (however much you like, but about ½ tsp. each of butter and brown sugar, and a sprinkle of cinnamon works well). Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until the squash is tender.

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