The table was a vital part of my childhood. The table was a communal place; it was here you could air grievances, share tales of triumph, joys, and sorrows. Shared experience was the star of the evening, not the food. Food was the means of getting everyone to the table to be nurtured, then nourished. This is not to say that every communal meal of my lifetime has been an amazing experience, but the importance of sharing a meal with people I love is deep in my bones. I appreciate that the table started out for me as a place for fellowship and community, as that nurtured a deep respect for those valuable things in my life. The table for me now has evolved into a place where I can share delicious food that is healthy and life-giving for the people I love most. I have begun the work of asking where my food comes from, so that I may better feed those at my table. My journey with food is ever-evolving, but I am grateful to be tethered to the simple joy of sharing meals.
“You can eat food by yourself. A meal, according to my understanding anyhow, is a communal event, bringing together family members, neighbors, even strangers. At its most ordinary, it involves hospitality, giving receiving, and gratitude.” Wendell Berry, Bringing It to the Table
Last night I had the good fortune of feeding some dear friends, and I daresay this dish was almost as nourishing to us as our time spent together.
Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad
adapted only slightly from Orangette
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 in pieces
1 medium garlic clove, minced
½ tsp. ground allspice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ of a medium red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley
For tahini sauce:
1 medium garlic clove, finely minced with a pinch of salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp. tahini
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Toss the diced squash with garlic, olive oil, allspice and a couple of pinches of salt. Roast on a baking sheet for about 25 minutes, or until squash is tender. Your house will begin to smell very good during those 25 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, make the tahini sauce by combining all ingredients. When the squash comes out, mix with the chickpeas, onion, parsley and most of the sauce in a large bowl. Taste and add more salt or sauce as your taste-buds require.