Update: The amazing photograph accompanying this post has been selected for Food Gawker! Congratulations, Craig, and thanks, Food Gawker!
As I publish yet another entry professing a love for all things gourd during the frozen-precipitation months, I feel it is time to admit something funny (for you) and, simultaneously, horrifying (for me): I am allergic to squash. I am NOT allergic to squash in the sense that if I eat cooked squash, I have some kind of reaction where different parts of my body burst out in hives and my throat opening narrows to occlude all possibility of breathing normally. (Fun fact: the science name for hives is “urticaria”—who knew?) Nope, I have eaten squash for a long time, and have never had a problem eating it.
It was only when I began cooking it that I noticed this issue. Frankly, the first time it happened, I attributed it to chance or some other encounter I’d had but couldn’t remember. But the second time, I thought to myself, Oh. Squash is doing this to you. Damn you, squash! Why must you treat me this way?! You see, I am allergic to touching raw squash—inside or out. So the first five times I cooked with squash, it went something like this:
(1) Make delicious food item involving (and likely centered around) squash.
(2) Notice a few hours later that the palm and fingers of my right hand are bright red and really warm.
(3) Goes away two days later, forget about it.
(4) Repeat every couple weeks, all winter.
Apparently, touching any part of squash resulted in some bizarre local immune response in the skin of my hand, which I figured out by realizing that the hand holding the knife (yes, I’m a sinister one, of course) was largely spared from the reaction, while the hand holding the squash received the full brunt of it.