Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup at Fiddlehead and burnt toast at Bennington College

Kate Davis with a cuppa butternut squash

BENNINGTON -- Bennington College sophomores Kate Davis and Christina Cale came to Fiddlehead at Four Corners this afternoon to teach kids and parents how to make healthy, delicious soup while touting the importance of using local fruits and veggies.

By doing so they made a little bit of a statement, too. Tension at Bennington College is higher than usual these days after the school replaced longtime food service vendor Bill Scully ('94 Bennington grad, North Bennington restaurateur and hydro-electric visionary) with multi-national behemoth Aramark. Read about the rising mountain of burnt toast here.

The most interesting thing about that piece appears at the end with the mention of Aramark harshly undercutting Purple Carrot Farm's offer to provide butternut squash, by 9 cents. Students operate the campus farm, which is part of the the ever-growing and popular Bennington Sustainable Food Project here.

"Insane" is the way Kate described the butternut squash brouhaha as she prepared for today's class, the intent of which was to teach kids and parents about cooking healthy meals with local fruits and veggies.

The butternut squash Kate and Christina used today grew at Purple Carrot Farm, and Kate was somewhat flattered when I asked if she used PCF's gourds as a statement of sorts.

The short answer was No ... 

... but the long answer was "It was awesome. They were super-generous to let us use their produce for a donation instead of by the pound. It's like bringing the produce from Bennington to Bennington!"

The Mighty Food Farm in Pownal and Spice N' Nice in Bennington donated to the cause, too.

For more than an hour, the sounds of Kate and Christina teaching and of moms and dads and sons and daughters listening and laughing and learning emanated from the mezzanine. Together they prepared fresh ingredients for the butternut squash and pear soup in teacups.

What made it all so real were the Pavlovian kitchen sounds of the blades of the knives clanking the tops of the tables as parents and little ones chopped squash and potatoes and onions. After 10 minutes I was drooling for a taste.

Each new chef walked out of Fiddlehead with a large ziplock bag full of chopped ingredients and unopened boxes of coconut milk so that they could make it at home. Butternut squash isn't really my thing but I sampled the soup and loved the flavors.

One of the parents said "I love butternut squash but I've never had it with pear. I loved it."

Below are Kate and Christina talking about their teacup of deliciousness.