A Southern Tradition
Back in the 60s, most any church supper or family reunion featured this squash casserole. It’s really good, but not the sort of thing you’d want to eat regularly. In the interest of our health, most of us have cut back on artery-bustin’ fats.
A Decadent, Delicious Dish
But Southern Living still offers the original recipe, that they call Old-School Squash Casserole. It includes sour cream, butter, three kinds of cheese, creamy soup, plus mayo, and eggs!
Oh, yes, there’s yellow squash and a few carrots in there somewhere. A Pepperidge Farm dressing sandwiches it all together. The sliced water chestnuts provide the extra crunch. So if you want to make this a religious experience be sure to add a small can.
Can You Really Improve on a Classic?
As I pondered Thanksgiving side dishes, it occurred to me there might be a stripped-down version of the old favorite, with less fat. I got in touch with my all-knowing friend, Siri, and found a few updates. She noted that in the interest of bringing this vintage casserole into the 21st century, many recipe writers offer a remake.
Ina to the Rescue
In her cookbook, Modern Comfort Food, Ina Garten spiffies up the old casserole, giving it a hoity-toity name: Provençal Zucchini Gratin. Ina subs zucchini for the yellow squash and skinnies it down with half and half cream instead of the full strength stuff.
Ina leaves out the soup, sour cream, and mayo. She reduces the cheese topping to Gruyère only. I’m not sure she’s made a significant calorie/fat reduction here, but every little bit makes us feel more virtuous.
Fats and Carbs Don’t Count on Thanksgiving
I found another reduced recipe called Healthy Squash and Kale Casserole designed for those who suffer remorse after eating a 70s-style casserole without something green showing.
Even so, I plan to stick with the remorse that comes from a heaping tablespoon of Southern Living’s squash casserole. I will temper my anguish with fond memories of my mother’s Thanksgiving kitchen.