Ode to Zucchini

Wrinkly Bits

A Blog by Gail Cushman

I’m a vegetable person and nothing beats home-grown tomatoes and corn and strawberries and I spend most of my annual food budget in the vegetable section at the local supermarket, where I buy plastic binned vegetables that were picked too soon by who knows whom in some faraway place. I don’t know much about their origins and am mostly disappointed with their Styrofoam-like flavors, not that I’ve ever tasted Styrofoam. 😊

I’ve been pining for garden-grown vegetables all summer, but they don’t appear until the fall, and by some unknown magical technique, they all choose the same day to ripen to full adulthood. This year it was September 22 when I opened my front door to find a bounty. My kitchen counter now holds a plastic bucket half full of tomatoes, a gunny sack of zucchini, a dozen ears of corn, two large shoeboxes of Russet potatoes (I live in Idaho and would expect no less), and a forty-two-pound watermelon (yes, I weighed it, which is another issue). I haven’t cut it open yet, so hope it doesn’t explode all over my kitchen when I jam my husband’s machete into its rind. I didn’t grow any vegetables myself this year and am glad to have them, but did they have to come all at once?

I’m not sure who gave them all to me, one person or several, but thank you. I know I’ll enjoy most of them. I’m not complaining, mind you, but wonder why the vegetable gods can’t spread them out a bit. Could we please have the tomatoes in May, corn in June, and watermelon in July and the potatoes every day of the year. And, while I am at it, vegetable gods, please feel free to eradicate zucchini and other squash from the face of the Earth (wait, but not pumpkins…they are so pretty in the fall). When my kids were little, I force-fed them zucchini, disguising it in spaghetti sauce and other casserole dishes, mostly because it was cheap or even free. They must have liked it because now they eat zucchini in place of pasta and tell me how delicious it is, but I, for one, am not convinced.

So, this week my tasks include using or storing all these vegetables. I have salsa and spaghetti sauce on my agenda, as well as a daily dose of baked spuds, and a few slices of that watermelon. I might eat the corn, not all at once, but maybe will put a little into the salsa. I’m not sure what to do with the gunny sack of zucchini, but I have an idea: Maybe I dress in black and take a midnight stroll. Then, Robin Hood style, I leave a little present on my neighbor’s porch. Won’t they be surprised when they retrieve their morning newspapers, unless, of course, they are the ones who left them for me!

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