Between 15 & 20 years ago, while living in Texas, I started noting a vine growing on a lanai at a house near my own. What appeared to be ground-rooted Zuchinni were dangling thru the lanai over the patio from the vine that totally covered it. Finally one day I stopped when I saw the lady of the house caring for her garden to see if I could find out what the vine might be. By this time the squash (or whatever they were) were well over a foot long.
Unfortunately she was a very recent immigrant from a SE Asian area and spoke no more English than could I speak of her language. Some things about gardening are universal however and she was instantly aware that I was admiring her gardening skills. Naturally I left there with one of her squash (?) but the cooking instructions she tried to give me were non-translatable by the old hand-waving standby of those who do not speak a common tongue.
The wife and I, not knowing any better, prepared them as we would zuchinni. The 3 impressions we got were:
A. A bit tough.
B. Not bad but almost bland flavor.
C. May have been allowed to get too big before harvest.
Shortly thereafter we 'escaped' from the Dallas area, taking refuge in the hills of N. Ark., and I never had the chance to find out what the veggie was from the kind lady who gave me the sample. If only I had had the foresight to save some seed.;o(
Since then I have asked every gardener or nurseryman I've encountered if they could identify the mystery vegetable from the meager information I have without any enlightenment. I LIKE things that grow on vines that grow as vigorously as did those on the lady's patio and with my small plot I need them too. Plus the old back doesn't really approve of stoop gardening as much as it once did. So I've joined this board so that I could throw myself on the tender mercys of those here in hopes that someone can direct my search. Any and ALL advice about what it was, where to get seeds as well as the preferred methods of growing, harvesting and preparing would be gratefully recieved and hugely appreciated. I like both gardening and culinary adventuring and have never been able to understand my fellow countrymen who visit other lands, refusing while there to allow their taste buds to enjoy the same adventure, but instead insisting on eating 'American' food when in exotic locales. I always find myself wondering why they didn't just remain at home.
Thanks ahead of time for any enlightenment provided.
Tom @ Buzzard Bluff