When I was in high school, there was a class called “Home Ec.” This might seem charming and antiquated, but wait til you hear the rest of it. Home Ec was just for girls. There was another class, a class that was boys only, and that class was called “Bachelor Living.” I was always a little jealous about Bachelor Living–I suspected that while we were learning how to sew and cook and create tasty meals on a shoestring, the boys were throwing darts and drinking lager and grilling steaks. Maybe even playing the drums loud and throwing dirty clothes on the floor. At best, they were probably learning how to hold their lives together just long enough to get married and have somebody else do all the hard stuff while they went out to have fulfilling careers. This sort of thinking probably explains the collapse of the entire Home Ec curriculum in schools across the nation. And, now that we have thrown the baby out with the bath water, can we look forward to generations of bachelors, hordes of helpless souls waiting around for someone to come sew on a button or put out a small kitchen fire (with baking soda!) or stretch a meatloaf with oatmeal to feed a family of six?
I say, bring back Home Ec! For can there be more useful information than knowing how to care for ourselves, to learn to value food and spend sensibly in the domestic sphere, to have the resources to prioritize quality over convenience? What a relief it was to enter into adulthood knowing how to cut up a chicken, to increase a recipe to feed twelve, to repair a torn seam, to plan ahead. Teaching this knowledge in school says that as a nation we value this information, we think it’s important to be thrifty, to be self-sufficient, to abhor waste, and to spend time considering the choices we make.
Roasted Squash & Farro Salad with Feta
1 med-large winter squash (butternut, pumpkin, acorn, red kuri, etc), peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
8 oz. farro, cooked according to package directions & cooled (found in the rice & grain section of the supermarket)
2 small sweet red peppers, diced
1 bunch green onion, sliced thin (white part and about 1/2″ of green)
1 small handful parsley leaves, chopped
4-6 oz. feta cheese, cut into 1/2″ cubes
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp whole grain or dijon mustard
1/2 c. olive oil + extra olive oil for roasting squash
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the squash cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out onto a baking sheet. Roast, tossing once or twice, until tender and lightly browned.
When farro is cooked, spread out on baking sheet until cool. When it’s cool, place in a large bowl, and add peppers, green onions, and parsley, Set aside and make the dressing. Place lemon juice and mustard together in a small bowl. Whisk together until combined and continue whisking while drizzling in olive oil until dressing is emulsified. Pour over farro mixture, stir to combine and correct seasoning with extra salt and pepper if necessary. Add roasted squash pieces and feta cheese and lightly toss again. Refrigerate or serve at room temperature.