THE ORIGINS OF SQUASH

THE ORIGINS OF SQUASH

Indians grew a wide variety of squash long before the first white men reached America. Crooknecks and bush-scallops grew in the Northeast, cushaws and sweet potato squashes in the South, the Boston marrow and autumn turban in New England. Captain John Smith described the squash ("macocks") he found in the early days of Virginia, saying that the Indians "plant amongst their corn pumpions, and a fruit like unto our muskmelon, but less and worse, which they call macocks."

Surely the best-known and most popular American squash is the Hubbard, whose history was revealed in a letter by James J. H. Gregory, written in December, 1857, for The Magazine of Horticulture. "Of the origin of the Hubbard squash we have no certain knowledge," Mr. Gregory said. "The facts relative to its cultivation in Marblehead are simply these. Upwards of twenty years ago, a single specimen was brought into town, the seed from which was planted in the garden of a lady, now deceased; a specimen from this yield was given to Captain Knott Martin, of this town, who raised it for family use for a few years, when it was brought to our notice in the year 1842 or '43. We were first informed of its good qualities by Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard, a very worthy lady, through whom we obtained seed from Capt. Martin. As the squash up to this time had no specific name to designate it from other varieties, my father termed it the 'Hubbard Squash."

Baked Hubbard Squash

1 Hubbard Squash

4 slices of bacon

Sprinkle of brown sugar

Wash the squash and cut them in half. Spoon out seeds and fibers from the cavity. Put 4 slices of bacon in a shallow baking pan and bake in a preheated 350° oven until crisp. Remove from oven, drain on paper towels, and set aside. You can also fry the bacon if that is easier.

Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper and place, cut side down, in the bacon fat. Bake at 350° about 1 hour or until tender when tested with a fork. Just before serving, sprinkle lightly with brown sugar, brush with some of the bacon fat, and drop the bacon, crumbled, into squash cavities.

Serves 4.