Thursday night is cooking class night. I signed up for five classes of the 15 offered as something to do to meet people and get out of the house. It’s fun and Chef Michael used to work for Leona Helmsley so there are good stories and he’s very engaging. (In case you didn’t know Leona did not allow tomatoes with skins on them to be served in her hotel!) Each Thursday the group is slightly different. This past Thursday I arrived early and there was someone new. I said hello and she proceeded to take this as an invitation to hold what turned out to be a strange conversation!
Lacy (I’ve changed the name in case anyone from Hemlock reads this), it turns out, is a “weekender” but because she didn’t have electricity at her home (Long Island I think), she and her husband came to Hemlock where they have a home on the golf course (the most affluent part of the community). Lacy was beyond enthusiastic about all the activities that take place during the week here. She said, “I went to the Happy Hookers today,” and then under her breath said, “It’s a knitting group.” Very excited about her knitting project, she suggested that I come to the next meeting. “I’m not a knitter,” I replied, to which she said, “what do you do?” I was a bit taken aback but I wanted to be polite (and still no one else had arrived — please someone come and save me!), so I told her I was retired. “Well, what does your husband do?” Hmmm. Now I began to see where this was going. When I told her I was a widow, she went even further and said, “Oh! This is a terrible place to be single. EVERYONE here is a couple.” Needless to say, I had absolutely no response to this. Lacy was not to be deterred: “You need to meet a man. Perhaps you should try on-line.” Still speechless, I sat there and listened as she proceeded to describe other ways I could meet a man and I began to wonder if Mr. Peabody had taken me into his way-back machine (remember Rocky and Bullwinkle?) to 1953! Thankfully, other people began arriving and Lacy, being easily distracted, turned to engage others in conversation.
During the course of the cooking class (squash bowls with butternut squash and apple soup in them) Lacy also expressed that she didn’t know that you could buy whole nutmeg and where would such a thing be found as well as wanting to know the difference between roasting and baking! This after telling everyone that she has a chef’s range and oven. Oh, well…the soup was delicious (tasting comes with the price of the class) and I was glad for the evening out. See below for how to make the squash bowls — good for soup, rice, veggies, whatever — very clever.
The conversation, however, left me disconcerted to say the least and I relayed the story while Skyping with my friends Kim and Beth. Both of them had the same reaction — what year/century are we in that ANYONE would think this is appropriate?! Of course, I questioned my decision to move here, wondered if there was any truth in what she said, and then dismissed it as being comments that people make when they don’t know what else to say. I really miss conversation about current issues, political goings-on, and ANYTHING of substance — from 2012 of course!
Squash Bowls: Find a flat bottomed squash or cut a little off the bottom of a small acorn squash. Cut off the top and scrape out seeds. For the soup bowl, put honey around the rim of the bowl, and then dip it in brown sugar (as you would rim a margarita glass). If you want to use it for savory items such as rice or veggies, use butter and other spices (Moroccan spices) to rim the bowl. Then roast it (rim side down) for about 45 minutes to an hour.