Today I had lunch at a gorgeous restaurant with a wide and varied menu from which I could have eaten a lot of dishes. In the end I went with a salad of avocado, mango, and a whole variety of nuts, seeds, salad and other vegetables which was so lovely I would be perfectly happy to eat it every day. I could find almost nothing to criticise about this menu, except for one dish: macaroni cheese. This had not one, but two regrettable things about it. Firstly, it was down as Mac and cheese, which is a ridiculous Americanised way to refer to a perfectly good British dish. And secondly, for some unknown reason, butternut squash had been added to it, so it was Mac and cheese with butternut squash.
Why with butternut squash? Macaroni cheese is a perfectly good dish. It’s excellent served with a green vegetable or a tomato salad. If you want you could roast the tomatoes. If you want to add a vegetable, then why not cauliflower or broccoli, something which will provide some contrasting texture and somewhat lighten the richness of the sauce. If you really want you could add some onions to it, and put some sliced tomatoes on top. But butternut squash?? Too heavy, too sweet, too soft, too rich, to actually improve the dish, at least in my opinion. True, I didn’t try it, but neither would I want to. This is a perfect example of the vegetable’s awful ubiquity. It’s reasonably inoffensive, but neither is it bloody truffle. And yet chefs insist on adding it to anything and everything as though it was just as tasty and exotic. Why? WHY??