I must look a little silly as I was pour over the butternut squash in Whole Foods. A woman reaches over me to grab one without even looking at. Instead she looks at me as I pick them over. I take one only to find it is more yellow underneath, putting that gourd back, and then spotting a much darker one with a long neck that is perfect. The darker they are, the sweeter they'll taste, and I do like sweet.
I squeeze the onions assuring no soft spots, Inspect the leaves of kale to be sure the color is just as dark in the light away from the misleading case and not starting to turn yellow, I look for firm burdock with smooth skin, smaller carrots that have no visible cracks and the nice round small turnips that look young and fresh. My celery root is more flesh than rind, I pick the oranges that are heavy for their size with a smoother skin. This woman must think I'm terribly picky.
Choosing well though makes dishes tastier and faster because there is less effort needed to make a great meal. If the squash were flavorless, what good is it? Instead I am rewarded with a quick lentil single serving stew. I pour in a little olive oil into a pan to heat up and start sauteing chopped onion and carrots. I add a little of this rich orange squash and water, use up some left over leaves of romaine and some brown lentils I need to finish, with a sprinkle of tamari. I put the lid on and keep simmering until the liquid is gone and the vegetables soft. Delicious. My only regret is that I didn't make more. It would be wonderful mashed into patties with bread crumbs or brown rice for burgers.