What kind of cook are you?

Acorn squash

Acorn Squash, a staple winter vegetable.

As far as I can tell there are only two types of cooks in this world – those who follow recipes and those who don’t.  Can you guess which one I am?

To be fair I should probably tell you what type of cook my mother is.  99% of the meals my mother made when I was growing up were absolutely delicious, completely sans recipe and never exactly the same way twice.  See, as far as my mother is concerned a recipe is simply a starting point because it tells you what tastes good together and in what general proportions, but food is something you have to make you own – customize it to your own liking.  She’ll follow a recipe once to get the gist and to see if she likes it, but after that it is all by memory and by taste.

This is exactly how she came up with combining acorn squash, apples, and onions one Easter circa 1988.  The mixture was an instant classic and has been a staple on our Thanksgiving table for the past 20+ years.  In fact, I now wouldn’t consider Thanksgiving dinner complete without it.

The moral of this little tale?  Like anything else in life, don’t just blindly follow directions…experiment! Try different food and flavor combinations.  Start with some basic staples and try cooking a meal on taste alone.  Imagine how much more enjoyable your food will be when it is constructed based on your taste instead of someone else’s!

With that said, here is my mother’s “recipe” for:

Acorn Squash with Apples and Onions

Acorn Squash with Apples and Onions


  • 2 large Acorn Squash
  • 4 large Apples, peeled
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 c. water
  • salt & pepper


  1. Roast the Acorn squash at 350° until soft and easily pierced with a knife.
  2. Set aside to cool.
  3. Peel and chop 4 large apples.
  4. Place in a pot with 1.5 c water and bring to a boil.
  5. Simmer on low until apples are soft and easily broken down to applesauce.
  6. Peel and dice 2 medium onions.
  7. In a pan melt 1 tbsp of butter and add the diced onions.
  8. Cook on med-low heat until onions are soft and translucent.
  9. Cut the Acorn squashes in half and remove the seeds.
  10. Add the acorn squash meat and apple sauce to the pan with the onions.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Combine well and cook for an additional 10 minutes to let the flavors marry.  Or, immediately after combining squash, apples and onions, place in a corning wear and bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Serve hot.  Makes INCREDIBLE leftovers!


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