When I see the summer’s first bounty of produce – man, that gets my heart racing. Y’all might wanna check your pulse if it doesn’t get yours pumping too.
Food has always been a passion of mine and it’s no coincidence it all started with my mom. It seems so many chefs’ stories start the same – a long line of home cooks who held their homes together with love, and many times that was represented by food.
I can remember my mom plopping me on the countertop while she was making cookies. It was time for the vanilla, and she poured some into her measuring spoon and told me to smell it. Of course I complied, but I also ate it! After a good laugh, she said, “Megan… I said to smell it, don’t eat it.” That’s my very first memory of food. I grew up on 20 acres of farmland in rural Kansas. My dad worked for the union pacific railroad for 35 years and my mom cleaned houses. I’m so lucky because I grew up learning where food really came from. We had multiple gardens. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a hotter environment than those summers when mom was canning in our home kitchen. But it’s where I credit my love of food to. She was the first chef I ever knew. Sure, she wasn’t trained in culinary school, but she grew up having to cook for her family because her mother worked the night shift in a local diner. That woman can make a meal from nothing if she has to.
Since I’ve gotten a few more years under my belt of adulthood, food has taken on so much more meaning. Food is the universal language. We pop a bottle of champagne when friends get married, we share our most cherished recipes when a friend passes away, we offer a hot cup of coffee when a momma has been up all night worrying about her kiddos, we let our babies have their first birthdays with smash cakes. Food speaks when words fail. Food unites us and chefs inspire us – all kinds of chefs.
Here is Mom’s Fried Butternut Squash recipe:
- 1 each butternut squash peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 2-4 cups Cornflake cereal Finely crushed
- 1 cup flour
- 2 each eggs beaten
- 1/3 cup milk
- vegetable oil to fill skillet 1 inch deep
- 2 Tbsp butter
- Combine eggs and milk in a shallow pan. Place flour in another pan or large bowl and cornflakes in a 3rd pan/bowl.
- Dredge squash circles in flour, then shake off excess. Dip in the egg/milk mixture, then coat in crushed cornflakes.
- heat skillet over medium heat, add vegetable oil to 1 inch deep, then add butter. When hot, add squash circles and fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn once and cook other side. Squash should be tender. Keep warm until served.