Old Fried Winter Squash Recipe

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, October 17, 1911: Not so very much to write about. It is raining tonight.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

On days when Grandma wrote little, I often wish that she’d somehow known that someone would be reading the diary a hundred years later who wanted to know more about the mundane, routine aspects of her life—like what did her family eat for supper on a rainy evening in October?

Since she didn’t tell us what they ate, I’ll take a guess–

When I was growing up we often ate fried winter squash during the fall and winter. My sense is that this is a very traditional Pennsylvania food that Grandma would have eaten when she was young:

Fried Winter Squash

3/4  pound winter squash (butternut, hubbard, etc.), peeled and thinly sliced (approximate)

Lard or other shortening

salt and pepper

Melt shortening in skillet. It should be about 1/4 inch deep. Put 1 layer of squash in pan. Cook for about 5 minutes; turn squash with a fork. Cook  another 5 – 8 minutes; or until squash is tender. Remove squash from pan and drain on paper towels. Put on serving plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; serve immediately.

Yield: 2 servings

My husband and I really enjoy this recipe. It is very simple—and it really brings out the wonderful taste of the squash. The amounts are very flexible for this recipe. I usually slice enough squash to cover the bottom of the skillet.

In Grandma’s day they would have fried the squash in lard, but shortening works just fine.

I use butternut squash when I make this recipe—but butternut squash (somewhat surprisingly to me, since it’s so ubiquitous today) was not widely available until the 1940s. A hundred years ago, they probably used hubbard squash, Long Island cheese squash (this is a white squash that looks sort of like a pumpkin), or other traditional variety.

2 thoughts on “Old Fried Winter Squash Recipe

  1. Interesting once again! I will have to try this recipe. I love squash and have always wondered if there was another way to use it instead of just cooked and mashed. Do you think they ate pumpkin this way too?

    1. I’d guess that they also ate pumpkin like this. When I was a kid, for everything except jack-o’-lanterns, our family used pumpkins and winter squash pretty interchangeably.

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