We have been doing this for hundreds of years. As I said, we’re a little slow down here. In late April, it seems like a good idea. One plant. A few pounds of yellow squash, just for a squash casserole. Let me just say that anything, even one plant, that produces a vine is trouble. Here’s how the season goes.
April: Ah, spring. Time to get our hands dirty and grow our own vegetables. I will put the squash plant off to the corner of the garden so as to minimize its naturally invasive nature.
May: The tomato plants next door to the squash plant become visibly upset as the squash plant has now turned into ground cover and is creeping slowly but confidently straight for them.
June: I move the tomato plants to the other side of the garden. It is my only hope of a tomato sandwich as the squash vine has now encircled them and is heading toward the peppers.
July: Well, I don’t really like peppers anyway. They have succumbed to the squash vine, which is now approximately the size of Delaware.
August: The squash are ready to harvest – all 10 acres of them. That is a substantial accomplishment considering I have a 10-by-12 foot garden. I make my squash casserole in a 9-by-9 inch pan. I need approximately six squash for this. That leaves me 857 squash to creatively give away. It starts with subtle subterfuge. I tell the neighbors, “I have a little extra produce from the garden – would you like some?” They know this is code for she’s going to try to force 10 grocery bags of squash on us. They do not make eye contact and politely refuse.
Church. I will take the squash to church. It will only taken seven trips. If I go after dark, leave it on the steps of the parish hall and run quickly away no one will be the wiser. NO! God will know what I’ve done and who knows if that’s one of those things that’s a deal breaker in the afterlife. Squash dumper. Murderer. Rapist. It may be all the same to Him.
As I said, we are a little slow down here. This sad story repeats itself each and every year and it’s multiplied by the fact that we are all growing squash like it’s our birthright as Southerners.
So here is my squash casserole. There are two schools of squash casserole makers – those who prefer the squash chunky and those who like it as a more homogenous part of the casserole. I am in the latter camp so I grate my squash. There is also a divide between grated Cheddar cheese and Velveeta. I think you know where I stand on that.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 cups seeded grated crookneck squash
- ½ medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, diced
- Salt and pepper
- 4 ounces Velveeta, cubed
- 24 Ritz crackers, crushed and divided
- 1 egg, beaten
- Melt the butter in a sauté pan and add the squash and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat until the squash begins to brown.
- Put the squash and onions into a bowl and add the Velveeta cubes. Then add ⅔ of the cracker crumbs and the egg. Mix thoroughly.
- Put squash mixture into a casserole dish, sprinkle with remaining cracker crumbs, and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.