A Zucchini Story

In our garden we have a zucchini plant, just one, and it’s a very vigorous one at that. Vibrant life courses through its dark green leaves. And you know what kind of reputation zucchinis have – those plants definitely put out! What on earth does a person do with all that zucchini? Jim told me about his mother’s E-Z zucchini recipe and it has just four ingredients – zucchini, eggs, saltine cracker crumbs, and seasoning salt. That’s just the ticket!

Last Saturday I received a spontaneous invitation to attend a multi-generation family dinner party. I wanted to bring something but had little time to plan. But wait – I have a boatload of zucchini! I grabbed the ingredients, a cast iron skillet, my favorite knife, and headed to the party.

After the first round of introductions, a few conversations, and a beer, I pulled a chair up to the table and started to make the infamous zucchini with cracker crumbs. I beat a few eggs, cut the zucchini in ¼ inch slices, put the crackers in a Ziploc bag and smashed them with a rolling pin. Then, I dipped the zucchini slices in the eggs and into the crackers. After a few rounds of that, I noticed the crackers were not sticking to the zucchini. The eggs had moistened the crackers and they were too lumpy to stick to the slices. I changed my technique and with a fork, dipped the slices into the egg, put them on a plate and sprinkled on the crumbs. After a dusting of Johnny’s seasoning salt, they were ready to be fried. My friend Wendell was manning the stove and melted some bacon grease in the cast iron skillet. After a few minutes, he turned one upside down and exclaimed “Ready to turn over – they have that KFC color”. That made me laugh.

About twenty people were seated at the long, rectangular table. The proof is in the pudding – I heard a few of them say out loud “This zucchini is delicious”. But the best validation came from sweet twelve year old Anthony who was seated next to me. He liked the zucchini so much he wanted to know how to make it. Wow, a zucchini can get a twelve year old to want to cook vegetables! He had just completed a week long cooking camp and seemed to have a keen interest in food. I explained all the steps and before I knew it, a plate of fried zucchini arrived on the table. Grandpa Don had been listening in and took the charge. What a surprise that was, especially since we were already finished with dessert. Being at table with good friends and good food to me is the epitome of the good life.