For Cooks, Fear Can Be a Secret Ingredient

The prospect of cuts and burns, or just baking a cake that fails to rise, doesn’t have to keep us out of the kitchen.

Illustration: Sonia Pulido

To many cooks, the coziest sight of the year is a produce market in the fall. The abundance of squashes makes you feel like a child getting ready for Halloween. There are green-skinned kabochas and stripy delicatas and long curvy butternut squashes and rouge vif d’etampes pumpkins that are as glowing as an orange sunset. There are cheese pumpkins that look just like a Cinderella carriage and dusty blue Hokkaidos with their dense, nutty orange flesh. My favorite way to eat risotto at this time of year is with chunks of sweet Hokkaido squash, softened in a pan with butter, garlic and rosemary, and showered at the end with...

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