I have a good excuse for my silence last week: I had the dreaded flu. Rumors of its “mildness” are misleading. If you are a young adult, the majority of expected cases, it is true. But based on what we are seeing with faculty, physicians, and others being exposed to those mild cases and for whom the adjective “young” must be dropped, it can be brutal. Delirious for nearly three days, unable to sit up, eat, or stay awake more than an hour at a time, I lost 5 pounds in 5 days, and am left with a secondary bronchial infection. And I was being treated.
So when my appetite slowly started to return, there was little that appealed to me. A bit of fruit, some plain yogurt. Solid food? No way. Back at work, I passed by the Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the office, unheard of for me, who usually takes two. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever want to eat anything solid again, and went to the farmers’ market to look around and see if anything called, “eat me!” Surprisingly, it was these little squash. I don’t like squash. I mean, I can eat it, but almost never buy it except for a few specific purposes. But they were so cute! And sunny! They looked like I wished I felt; grateful for the hopefulness they embodied, I bought them.
Of course, the fact that these squash are a good source of iron, vitamin C, and numerous other vitamins and minerals may have been an intuitive attraction. But really, their smooth yellow skins and perky stem ends are what won me over. They looked appetizing, and I knew they would be a good, plain, easy thing to eat. Feeling confident that my appetite was returning, I also bought some nice pastured chicken. Simply grilled, they both went down just fine.
Grilled Yellow Crookneck Squash
yellow crooknecks, as many as you need
salt and pepper
Leave the little squash whole; if you can only find larger ones, split them in half lengthwise. Brush the squash with olive oil and put them on a medium-hot grill (put split ones split-side down), turning them from time to time with a pair of tongs. Cook little ones for about 5 minutes, until they are slightly blackened here and there and a sharp knife enters and releases easily from the bulbous end; do not overcook. Remove to a bowl and toss with salt, pepper, basil, and a little fresh-squeezed lemon juice.