I’m single — and in a very big way. Not in the kind of big way in which I like to wear red lipstick, go to dark bars, and talk to attractive men. No, not in that way at all. Please do not misunderstand.
My singleness is a categorically big singleness because I suffer from a classic case of Extreme Introvert Syndrome. I’m not afraid to date; I just don’t really want to. I don’t feel like it, Mom! Sure, I’ve been in relationships in which I have found that it was a nice thing to have a nice person with which to do nice things. But lately I’ve really come to appreciate that it can sometimes be an even nicer thing when the nice company you’re enjoying is your own.
(Plus, I hate to share in restaurants, and I’m not particularly keen on shaving my legs.)
All the same, I got to thinking lately about those big, bold gestures of love that always come towards the ends of romantic comedies. You know what I’m talking about. Heath Ledger’s bleacher serenade in 10 Things I Hate About You. Hugh Grant’s Christmas Eve door-to-door hunt for his old assistant in Love Actually. Seth Rogan finally reading the freaking baby books in Knocked Up.
I recently wondered what one of these big, romantic gestures might look like in the context of my own life, and I’ve settled on something that I think is more than fitting. You know that scene in Say Anything when John Cusack stands outside his girl’s bedroom window with a boombox, blasting Peter Gabriel? Yeah, it would be a little bit like that — except, without the boombox. In my version, the man of my dreams stands outside my window wielding a huge, seemingly bottomless box of kabocha squashes. And he’s all, “I know you only buy one or two at a time because you don’t have a car.” And I’m all, “I love you forever. And I hope there is more squash in your trunk.”
Romance, people. I know it when I see it.
Spicy Cocoa-Dusted Kabocha Squash.
For two to four.
- 1 medium-to-large kabocha squash
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- up to 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Wash the outside of your kabocha well, then (using brute strength) cut the squash in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. Continue to cut the kabocha into bite-sized pieces, and lay them on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with coconut oil and, using your hands, massage the kabocha pieces to evenly distribute.
In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, cinnamon, and cayenne, using only as much cayenne as you know you can handle! Sprinkle the mixture onto the kabocha and then use your fingers again to massage and distribute. Sprinkle with sea salt, and bake for about 45 minutes, giving the squash a little toss with a spatula about half-way through. The squash will be done when it gets just a little bit golden brown on the outside, and soft and potato-like on the inside.
Good news! This recipe is Whole30 compliant!