Secrets of Spaghetti Squash

When I came across a post on how to cook spaghetti squash, my mind went back to my first experience with the vegetable. Who knew that spaghetti squash could be so exciting.

Here’s a link to the post that got me thinking about spaghetti squash.

Scott and I had been married only 2 years when we moved to Marion, NC. I wanted a garden for some fresh tomatoes, and now we had the space to to plant vegetables. A neighbor offered to plow a patch for us. He plowed up an acre or so for just 2 people.

I discovered seed catalogs. I didn’t realize they are really fantasy literature. All the vegetables looked so healthful and tasty. I wanted everything. The seed catalogs featured spaghetti squash as a delicious alternative to pasta. I wanted spaghetti squash. I ordered lots of vegetable seeds for just 2 people. I planted the whole pack of spaghetti squash seeds. Just like I planted all of the watermelon seeds, all the tomato seeds, all the zucchini seeds, all the corn seeds, all the garlic, all the potatoes, and all of the green bean seeds. I planted all the seeds that I had ordered. I planted them in our huge garden for just 2 people. Really. We didn’t know any better; we planted the whole thing. For just 2 people.

When the first squash was ripe, I was eager to prepare it. The instructions that I found at the time didn’t mention a microwave option, but one recipe did say the squash could be baked in the oven for the same amount of time that as a baked potato. Our house was not air conditioned, and I didn’t want to heat up the kitchen baking this squash for an hour. So I thought to myself, if spaghetti squash can be baked like a potato, I should be able to be microwave it like a potato. I estimated how many baked potatoes were equivalent to my luscious squash, calculated cooking time, and started microwaving. I poked the squash with a knife a couple of times, but  I didn’t cut it in half – just stuck the whole thing in the microwave with the stem on.

Whlie the squash cooked, I made pasta sauce from the tomatoes we had harvested. Dinner was going to be so delicious. When the microwave beeped, I opened the door and grabbed the squash by the stem so I could cut it open and get to the deliciousness hiding inside the hard shell.

There is a reason why microwave instructions for spaghetti squash say to cut the squash in half before microwaving. Remember, my squash was whole. Imagine my shock. I tugged on the stem. There was a brief resistance. Then as the stem came off in my hand like a grenade pin, the squash became a vegetable cannon spewing seeds and stringy interior all the way across my kitchen. Seeds and strings flew across the room and hit the opposing wall. Seeds and strings on the floor, on the counters, seeds and strings everywhere. How could one squash cover an entire large kitchen? It was the biggest mess I had ever made in my life.

We did get to eat spaghetti squash for dinner. There was plenty of the good stuff inside the squash, but dinner was delayed a very long time while we dealt with the vegetable-shrapnel.


Photo credit: I Believe I Can Fry / / CC BY-NC