You can say a lot of good things and conversely a lot of not so good things about the about growing up in California. Climate-wise it is hard to beat. You can go swimming in the Pacific Ocean in the morning, grab a bite of lunch, and then head to the mountains for an afternoon skiing. Not too many places to make a claim like that. Another great thing about living in Southern California is that it is just a short distance away from the San Joaquin Valley. The San Joaquin Valley is the Nation’s truck farm. Just about any fruit or vegetable that you can think of is daily available in the supermarkets. That, unfortunately, is not true of much of the rest of the United States. As an example Patty Pan squash; it is always available with the possible exception of a couple of months during the winter season. Outside of California it is difficult if not impossible to find Patty Pan squash (just as an aside,that holds true for banana squash as well).
Perhaps the dearth of Patty Pan and banana squash can be explained as those vegetables have short shelf life’s and bruise easily. I don’t really know if it’s the climate that makes a difference because you can grow Patty Pan and banana squash just about any place that has a nice warm summer and adequate water. It’s possible that it is just not part of the food traditions of the rest of the country. If that were true, I feel sorry for those people who have lost great-tasting vegetables from their table.
As young children learning to cook, barely tall enough to look over the top of the pot on the stove, we learned a quick and easy way to cook Patty Pan squash that we get from our garden a few minutes earlier. With a paring knife we would trim the stem and the bottom root and then cut the squash into pie shaped pieces. We would place the squash in a saucepan with a bit of water, a pinch of salt, a grading of pepper, and a couple strips of bacon. We would bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and wait, as hard as that was, until the squash was for tender. Patty Pan squash cooked like that was frequently on the dinner plate that we prepared as children.
One of our cooking mentors with Aunt Margie. She made a squash medley. She cut the Patty Pan squash into three discs and layered them with onion and tomato and topped it all off with bacon strips and butter. That was wrapped in foil and baked in the oven. That was a favorite during family get-together dinners at Aunt Margie’s home in the Southern California mountains.