Thursday, June 18, 2009


I bought this squash at my local "normal" grocery store, a Stop & Shop. I don't normally shop at chain groceries, but I also don't not shop at them.

Of course my favorite places to acquire food are farmers markets, CSA's, natural foods shops, my garden, and the woods. But I sometimes shop at supermarkets if for no other reason than to experience food like most Americans do. I like lemon cucumbers as much as the next foodie, but I'm never going to be too high on my food horse to avoid grocery stores. Sure they're doing horrible things to the world, but you have to recognize that just having the option of shopping at one makes you an incredibly, incredibly privileged global citizen.

Also, supermarkets yield quirky food items like the squash pictured above. I'd bought it to make butternut crepes, a truly divine dish that depends heavily on first browning the squash and then adding whole, fresh leaves of sage towards the end (quick eco-thical analyses: good that it's not meat, bad that it's not sustainable, local, seasonal, etc.). But I had to pause when I noticed the sticker.

The variety is Waltham, also the name of a town just a few miles from where I'm currently typing. But the place of origin is La Paz, Honduras, which is about 4,000 miles off. A brief internet search tells me that the squash is native to Mexico but by 5,000 years ago was being cultivated by the Incas in what is now South America.

At last, after a long, rich relationship with humanity that spans continents and thousands of years, the butternut has come to its final resting place: a nauseatingly lit supermarket shelf in the 'burbs.

So thank you, Stop & Shop. I never would have had that moment of malaise while picking a strawberry from my garden.

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Jay said...

i thought the butternut's final resting place was going to be a crepe? And then your stomach. Stop N' Shop is just one stop on the journey.

Karen said...

ate too many squash in my winter farm share, don't think i'll be able to do it this year. how did the crepes turn out?

Anonymous said...

I but your blog on Bitmans list of good food blogs - better get to blogging!

Simple Food Fan said...

Since when is the very simple and common Butternut squash considered a rare item (much less "quirky"!)?

Calling it a common item (especially in your area) is almost an understatement. I grew up in New England, and have eaten (and even grown!) this type of squash for my entire 47 years of life - Okay, maybe not in the first few months - but as soon as I started eating puréed food, I am sure that SIMPLE squashes such as the lowly everyday Butternut were in the blender.

Anonymous said...

Drama much, moron? Good grief, your ideological crap about local produce has been debunked many times over and you are still on about it. Get a grip, retard.

Aaron Kagan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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