The Meaning of Squash

Yesterday my mother-in-law cooked some winter squash (nankin) for us because, apparently, one traditionally eats nankin on the shortest day of the year. “Why do you eat it today?” I asked, hoping for a more detailed explanation. “Because today is toji (the shortest day of the year),” she replied. Okay. Whatever. I suppose it has something to do with the Chinese characters that represent winter squash, a secondary meaning, or maybe there is a synonymous word that has some special meaning. If anyone out there knows, I’d love an explanation.

At any rate, we ate the squash, and in a week or so we will be eating o-sechi ryori, in which every morsel is weighted with meaning (fish roe for fertility and so forth). In the meantime, I am preparing a traditional American holiday meal that no one will appreciate as much as I will. Lilia and I made cornbread today. On Christmas, I will roast a small turkey which, according to the packaging has been killed according to Muslim law, and I will also prepare sweet potatoes in orange shells, mushroom stuffing – and pumpkin pie, if I can find a can of evaporated milk.


3 thoughts on “The Meaning of Squash

  1. Best of the season to you and your family! Your supermarket must stock the same brand of turkey as ours. What about ‘yuzu’ in the bath on the equinox? Do you know what’s up with that?

  2. B’jesus! o-sechi ryori !

    I always have to fish out the tasty stuff. Over the past few years I think Okasan has been inventing Todd Morsel or two with a very special meaning:

    ” This Year Todd you will not cook up eggs on toast and will eat your o-sechi with the rest of us. . . and don’t forget to eat your Mikan too”.

    I’d love to have had your christmas meal. Instead I’m faced with /// this ///

    Blessings .. Toddly

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