I never imagined a vegetable could teach me such a profound and surprising lesson.
It all started in my haste to prepare a low carb base for our rather too soupy bacon and mushroom sauce. There was not enough sweet potato and I can eat gem squash all day every day, especially if infused with salty butter and topped with baby peas.
I know that gems are generally boiled in water on the stove top, but there were too many pots on the go and so the microwave was the next best option. I knowingly took a skewer and punctured holes through the thick skin into the pip ‘compartment’, which I presume has a special scientific name.
I confidently popped it into the microwave for 5 minutes and happily continued with the stirrings and steamings while the microwave hummed it’s familiar purr. In the middle of a closed eye tasting, which is my preferred method for cheering on my tastebuds, I heard an almighty BANG!
The microwave door was swinging bewilderedly on it’s limp hinges, the gem squash had knocked out a nearby chocolate bunny and was staring wide mouthed at me from the fruit bowl at least a foot beside the empty microwave. Yellow squash innards clung to every available surface in the 1m blast zone like crazy party string after everyone has left. I of course, let out a yelp, then gawked in silence before bursting into giggles.
My next thought was , “Oh goodness”, did I kill the microwave?’ I carefully switched off the power at the wall, pulled out the warm plug and left it to ‘rest’.
Then, as I slowly inspected the evidence of debri and clumps of pips, shell and pulp, I conjectured that the door must have blown open with such backhand force that it’s rebound hit the oncoming gem shell with a neat forehand in order to place it in the fruit bowl.
In the process of cleaning up I thought back to the pricking of the squash. I had stabbed into the middle, but obviously missed the inside sac. My brain usually runs on 2 or 3 tracks at a time, so I could not help thinking how humanlike this squash behaved. A thick outer shell that looks strong and protective and impenetrable, yet soft and nourishing on the inside with a coddled innate ability to reproduce in it’s own kind.
I was reminded of how piercing the shell can prevent a food sort from becoming a missile and, similarly, how powerful humility can be to disarm emotional pressure to avoid unwanted ‘explosions’. I somehow felt that the exploding squash had highlighted my arrogance and poked fun at my lack of humility. It felt like I lost a contest I did not know I was involved in. Gem 1, Jen 0.
I know you probably think me a little silly seeing it like this, but it really did make me think. A little humility can go a long way to turning a possibly explosive situation into a pleasant and nourishing treat.
As this happened on the Easter weekend, I left the microwave for 3 days in hopes of resurrection, before plugging it in, willing it’s little twinkly lights to wriggle across the display screen. It is dead, dead…and standing on the counter as a memorial to true humility. I’ll move it when the lesson has sunk in.
I now feel like a pumpkin.