Temple Grandin, Butternut Soup, & Five Guys

Must-See Movie

Time magazine has named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world. This summer, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s honored her with the Lifetime Achievement Award. She serves as an animal-welfare consultant for international companies like McDonalds, Wendy’s International, and Burger King. Her work has transformed the design of cattle handling facilities worldwide. In fact, fifty percent of the cattle in the U.S. and Canada are handled in equipment she has designed for meat plants.

She is one of the most fascinating people I have read or listened to. Her name is Temple Grandin. And she’s autistic. When she was four years old she couldn’t speak a word. The doctors, at the time, wanted her mother to commit her to an institution. But her mother wouldn’t accept that. Temple learned to read. She was tormented in junior high and high school. But she persevered, got into college, was almost expelled, and ultimately earned a PhD in animal science.

Recently, HBO produced a film about her called Temple Grandin. It is one of the best films I have seen in the last five years. It’s full of drama, heartache, triumph, and good humor. When you’re done, Temple Grandin will likely become one of your heroes.

Claire Danes does a fabulous job playing Temple. The movie also features Julie Ormond as Temple’s mother, Catherine O’Hara as her aunt, and David Strathairn as Dr. Carlock. Earlier this year, the film won seven Emmy Awards. But I didn’t need that to know how good it was. All I had to do was look at my wife and girls who sat rapt as the story unfolded. Get it on DVD. And if you want to know more about Grandin’s ideas, go to www.grandin.com.

Squash Devils

My wife was recently possessed by an evil squash spirit.

How do I know this?

Simple. Have any of you out there ever been sitting around and suddenly got a mighty hankering for pureed squash? Even when you were in the Gerber bottle stage?

No, didn’t think so.

So what else would explain her sudden need for a bowl of butternut bisque?

Alas, I did recall once having a tasty pumpkin soup in a fancy restaurant in California, and so I didn’t immediately call the Brethren in for an exorcism. Instead I went to allrecipes.com and looked up a recipe for her.

I found “Butternut Squash Soup II” by someone named Maplebird, which inspired tons of confidence since all the great chefs are named after tree-animal mixes.

Then Nellie made the soup. I partook. And the evil spirit must have jumped into me because I’m telling you right now that I could not get enough of it. The mouth feel, the taste—the TASTE. There wasn’t a thing squashy about it.

Folks, this is the real deal. And at least 494 other people out on allrecipes agree with me and have rated it an average of 4.5 starts out of 5.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1 (32 fluid ounce) container chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, and squash 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.

Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Say a prayer and call for a priest or someone with the Melchizedek priesthood to be on hand just in case.

Burger Salvation

Okay, I know some of you are rolling your eyes. Squash? Have you got to be kidding?

If that’s you, then let me recommend Five Guys burgers and fries. Burgers started to bore me years ago. But a buddy recently recommended Five Guys, and I’m so glad I went. They’re a national chain. In Utah, we have eight of their joints from Layton to Orem.

They don’t offer salads or wraps or yogurt. They make four kinds of burgers, three kinds of dogs, and two kinds of fries. That’s it. You order the toppings you want–the regular things like grilled onion, cheese, and pickle, but you can also get grilled mushrooms, bacon, jalapenos, and BBQ sauce. More importantly, your burger is cooked fresh, right before your eyes. No microwaved unmeat retrieved from a mystery bin. It comes to you hot and juicy. The fries, cooked in 100% peanut oil, are served up sizzling. And there are a lot of them. I ate mine with a Cherry Coke.

If you’re ever in the mood for burgers and fries, you’ve got to try Five Guys.

Tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Temple Grandin, Butternut Soup, & Five Guys

  1. OlettaLiano says:

    I guess I’m just out of luck this time…

    I would only go and see the Temple Grandin movie if she can swing a mean sword, shape shifts or if she can throw a ball of essence and kill the Evil Squash Spirit at fifty paces.

    Squash… You’re right, you have got to be kidding. Not gun point, not even if my head is under a Dark God’s foot and he’s about make me go squish.

    Five Guys burgers and fries, now that sounds interesting. I have read that they have been voted one of the best burger places around. Only problem, I live in Hole-in-the-wall Ohio and the closest Five Guys is an over hour drive, one way. Considering gas is $3.00 a gallon and my car is a 1995 POS with 268,600 miles. It would most likely be cheaper to get a plane ticket to Utah and eat at the one you go to. LOL.

    Still enjoying your book, and trying to complete my NaNoWriMo project on time…

  2. John Brown says:

    Grandin can do all of that.

    See it.

  3. Ben says:

    Hey, I just finished watching Temple Grandin. At first my wife and I were a little unsure, but by the end we were converted. Great movie. Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. John Brown says:

    Glad to hear you liked it.