Monday, August 8, 2016

A zucchini hunters tale

Once upon a time a wild zucchini seed snuck into a farmers garden and planted itself.  Even among the wild plants zucchini were outcasts.   They produced so many shinny green  gourds that  littered the ground,  after the woodland creatures turned their ankles or tripped over them, and  young animals were  terrified by being lost in the maze created by the gigantic green baseball bat shaped veggie,  they rotted and causing not only a slip and fall hazard, but a stinky mess. 

Now the farmer and his wife were particularly learned people, who fortunately escaped being burned at the stake, possibly because they always had vegetables to share.  The farming practices of the time quickly depleted the fields of nutrients and even this couple were beginning to worry about the famine that was abroad in the land.  
The farmer noticed how many large flowers the  volunteer plant produced even in the poor soil and took some to his wife, who reckoned that they might either starve this winter or be burned at the stake for not  starving this winter, so why not cook them up and try the huge flowers.  That night they ate the flowers, the wife had prepared, and felt none the worse for it the next day. 
In the next few days the farmer and his wife noticed more flowers appearing and
small green vegetables were growing too, the Famer picked a few of the small green fruits, and the wife prepared them, and they were both still alive the next morning. Some of the small green veggies were left on the plant to ripen, only they didn't ever seem to  ripen as much as they grew to huge proportions, and more and more kept growing, it seemed like 2 grew back for every one the farmer picked.   When the frosts threatened the farmer harvested all of the small the green veggies, upon cutting one of the larger ones open he found seeds, which he carefully cleaned and saved for planting the next year.
He had cartloads of the veggies to distribute to the hungry villages, who also saved the seeds and planted them in their gardens.

These prolific plants spread rapidly across the continent, and the nearly tasteless green veggie became a part of the cuisine of many countries, and acquired a name.   

When in the 70's if became the fashion for Americans to start small backyard gardens the zucchini and it cousins the yellow crock neck, cocozille, banana squash   { no it doesn't taste or look like a banana} became  fashionable  for the novice  gardeners to grow.  In fact everyone seemed to be growing zucchini. It was so easy to grow, but what to make from this prolific veggie????   Numerous cookbooks were written with directions for making pickles and breads, soups, stews, casseroles, even lasagna  made with thin slices of zucchini instead of noodles.  The flowers were stuffed, battered and deep fried or used in muffins, but still, there were always more zucchini than anyone could ever use.  I, myself, hoped that the deer would come and feast on them, but apparently everything else in my garden was more appealing to them.

Waking up to find sacks of zucchini at ones back door, and sometimes on the front porch also became the norm for many people.  Until this fearless champion came along. Some think he was allergic to the invading veggie, or perhaps frightened by an older sibling wielding a  zucchini like an ogre's baseball bat.  May-be even a once happily married man who's dutiful wife served him too many meals with zucchini  as the main ingredient.  I don't know who he is or why he  guards us from this overwhelming vegetable, and the large bags of it left on porches all over the land by night.  He is our champion, and for that I thank him. 

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