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Michael Murray: Fall, food, football, and a sword? ….

No matter what Andy Williams sings in his classic Christmas albums, in South Georgia, fall is the most wonderful time of the year. As the weather cools, the leaves morph into vibrant orange and yellow explosions in the trees, and the weekends begin to fill up with heated football games, we are currently on the cusp of my favorite season. Spring takes a close second, but that pesky pollen always manages to make me miserable enough to prevent it from jumping up to first place.
One of my favorite things about the fall is the food…Oh, the food of the fall. There are few things in life that I enjoy more than a perfectly roasted acorn squash. I actually have a great weekend recipe for this delicious dish. Maybe I’ll share it with our readers someday…
On second thought, I’ll go ahead and share it now, since I have your attention.
The first thing you need to do to make this dish is head to the grocery store and pick up the plumpest, firmest acorn squash you can find. Grab a bulb of garlic and, while you’re there, you may as well pick up some tortillas, cheese, salsa, and ground beef. I know it sounds like a lot. Just bear with me.
Once you have all of the ingredients together, the first step in making the perfect weekend roasted acorn squash is to preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then turn on the Atlanta Falcons game just in time for kickoff.*
The next step is to cut the fresh squash in half. This can be a little tricky, though, as the gourd is pretty tough. I have an old katana sword that I used to use for these types of tasks, but learned the hard way several years back that I probably shouldn’t swing it around inside (sorry about that hand-made vase, Mom…). Nowadays I do it the old-fashioned way, with elbow grease and a long, sharp knife.
By the time you have the squash chopped squarely in half and the seeds scooped out, you should check the game because I’m pretty sure that Tevin Coleman just made a 40-yard carry, and then get out the butter.
Some people may want to use margarine or olive oil instead of butter, but I, personally, prefer the hard stuff. Whatever route you decide to take, spread a lot of it all ofer the exposed portion of the squash. Don’t be shy…there’s plenty more butter where that came from.
At this point, you should probably check the game again because it looks like Julio Jones just caught a touchdown pass. When the excitement dies down, mince a few garlic cloves and and toss them into the squash. sprinkle on some salt and pepper and stick it in the oven.
At this point, take your spot on the couch and watch the Dirty Birds rise up. By the beginning of the second quarter, your squash should be just about perfect.
Now, you have a delicious acorn squash to snack on while you watch the game. Please make sure not to cheer with your mouth full. That can get messy.
If, for whatever reason, you don’t like the squash, at least you have the ingredients to make nachos …
That’s how I like to do it, at least.
*If you are cooking on Saturday, substitute the Georgia Bulldogs for the Atlanta Falcons. Georgia Tech or Auburn can also be substituted, depending on your tastes.

Michael Murray is the sports editor for the Americus Times-Recorder. Contact him at michael.murray@americustimesrecorder.com or by phone at 229-924-2751.

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