Some days more than others, cooking is a dance.
“I’ll be there in a minute, honey!” I crank the oven, scrub a butternut squash, lean in toward the counter, hack the peel away. (Some people eat it, do you?) Losing patience, my big girl comes over to talk subtraction, negative numbers, first grade math, the number line. The squash falls away from my knife in isosceles wedges. I show one to the girls.
“Do you want your squash in big pieces like this or little squares like squash candy?” You can guess the answer. I dice the last third of the squash, sling the pan into the oven, sweep the peels and seeds into the freezer for making broth, correct math homework, give in to the baby’s demand for a cracker.
Back to the recipe. I scoop tahini and squeeze lemon, press garlic, whisk, text with an old friend about soup, recite the memorized words from a favorite children’s book that we can’t find today. And then, in a moment of calm, I give my full attention to the stove, stirring, for the three minutes it takes to toast pine nuts. Success. They don’t burn.
Sweet roasted squash and red onions, a generous drizzle of tahini dressing, those salty toasted pine nuts, a shower of za’atar. I taste a piece of squash, then stop doing everything else. J wanders in at that moment and I hand him the plate and two forks. We sit down in the middle of the chaos and eat every bite. Continue reading