Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

On unanswerable questions

<ound the eighth week of one of my fall term classes, in which we were trying to gain a clear-cut understanding of Israeli national identity, we eventually devolved, by the end of seventy minutes, into a rather hopeless discussion of if we could ever actually know anything, ever. Was there a clear answer out there for any of the questions we were asking? After thoroughly complicating our own original questions for two months, we were as a group inclined to answer negatively. This is a liberal arts school, though, as our professor reminded us: if we wanted things made simple, we wouldn’t have come here. If you go deeply enough into any issue, really, it gets more complicated the further you delve, and the harder it is to find answers.

On the theme of everything being more complicated than you initially think it will be, I baked a spaghetti squash this week. It’s not a perfect analogy, but, similar to my class, it was more complicated than I thought it would be, involved multiple calls to my mom to discuss, and now that it’s over, I’m still left with a couple of penetrating, unresolved questions.

Let’s start with the complications. Firstly, there is nothing more frightening than carrying a large gourd eight blocks back from Econo over sidewalks covered by a sheet layer of black ice. Walking over that stuff that covered campus this weekend was terrifying by itself; the squash imbalanced things and caused a sense of general alarm. But I was excited about this whole squash notion, feeling like a person who actually cooks real things (I’d been feeling a little guilt about my overconsumption of whey protein lately), so I stuck with it.

The next problem I ran into was a technical one. That is, cutting open a spaghetti squash without the aid of an axe and/or chainsaw. It was so hard to open up that by the time I did manage to halve it I was concerned that perhaps my squash was defective.

In my reading for class this week, I ran across an Emerson quote that I initially rather liked.  “The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister,” Emerson tells us, “is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and vegetable.” I had at first felt pretty good about this whole “occult relation” thing, but it now seems a little incongruous as I think about hacking apart this vegetable-like item with a stainless steel knife and later eating it. At this point I’m inclined to think Emerson was referring to the vegetables that people observe and admire, not the ones they eat.

The cooking itself did go off without a hitch; after all, it’s not that hard to put something on a baking sheet and slide it into the oven. However, as previously mentioned, I am left with problems. I now have about four pounds of spaghetti squash in my fridge. First impenetrable question: how did I get so much squash out of one gourd? On a related note, what am I going to do with all this squash? Next impenetrable question: How do people ever get the hang of cooking for one person? This kind of stuff happens to me all the time. Just last week I made 1.5 lbs of tuna salad, since that was the smallest quantity of frozen tuna I could defrost at a time.

To look back at the first question: last night, I used about an eighth of the squash the way I would spaghetti, adding pesto, parmesan and sausage. Tomorrow (and possibly for the next several weeks) I might have to figure out something new. It shouldn’t be that hard; maybe Israel will eventually figure it out too.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *