Happy Tuesday. Although, I am actually writing this on Sunday. I have all these odd thoughts floating around in my head that I needed to clear out. Aren't you glad, that the I use the brains of you faithful readers as the dumping ground for the toxic waste of my brain??? Don't forget that red x at the top if my post from Monday wore you out too much to hear some serious grousing today. But here it goes!
My first order of business is Zucchini. Yes, I said Zucchini. I hear and read all the time about the mistreatment of animals. There are all sorts of organizations to save our whales and protect our birds. It is high past time that someone step in for the the Ethical Treatment of Vegetables. And since no one else has stepped up, it seems I am the one to do the job.
Today, we stopped by my mother-in-laws to pick up some of the bounty from their enormous garden. Now, I don't want to sound ungrateful, because I really am. I have been blessed with parents and parent-in-laws who love to help others and are always thinking of ways to bring a little blessing into the lives of their families.
My dear husband's dear parents grow an enormous garden. Now, I think the basis for this is in their farming history. Both of their families were farmers. Actually, most of them still are farmers. But, my father-in-law departed from the family business and took up elevator repair. Deep down though, he still has farming in his blood. His garden, for just the two of them, is at least four times the size of mine. I thought to take a picture to show you and actually forgot.
So, they plant this enormous garden, using the old fashioned work really hard method to boot. And then they spend all summer complaining about the need for rain and all the weeding and picking they must do. Each year, we offer to help them with the work. And each year they go on with it refusing to take a little break and let us pitch in.
Side note here. That is where my husband gets his stubborn inability to accept help from anyone. It is funny how that frustrates him in his father and he can't see it in himself. Don't worry, though. I regularly point it out to him. (Smile...he will as he reads this.)
So they have this huge garden. And they have a huge yield. My mother-in-law does not care for canning and their freezer is still overflowing with the excess of previous years, so what do they do? Give it to us.
Side note. Why do people grow vegetables they don't even like to eat? I am not joking. My in laws regularly grow crooked neck squash, which they don't even like, and then give us so much that I can not ever possibly use it all. And we love squash.
And this may sound like a very nice thing. And I hope I don't sound too ungrateful when I say my part. This is not always the blessing it may seem. For one thing, they let most stuff sit on the vine until it is overripe. Then they pick it and let it sit in their garage for days until it is literally half rotted. I have had bags of tomatoes turn to mush in the trunk of our suburban on the drive home from their house because they were so overripe. By the time I get them they are too mushy too even slice. I have tried to cut the bad spots out but they just squish in my hand to an unusable mess.
My husband summed the whole thing up today when we were gathering the goods. "Should we take this over sized zucchini so we can compost it for them?" Would it be too much to ask for them to pass them along when they are fresh enough to use? Oh, and I know you are thinking that I should suggest this to my dear mother-in-law. If it was my family I could in a snap. They know how to take constructive criticism. But then, again they know what a vegetable should look like. No sirree, mentioning anything other than how delicious her pound cake is would be a grave error on my part and would cost me the friendship I have worked my whole married life to develop.
So, I dutifully give up Sunday afternoons to drive the hour to their house to graciously accept vegetables, that for the most part will simply become compost for my square foot garden. Oh, I know that sounds bratty and self centered and selfish. And I guess it is. But the bottom line is this. I think it is time for us to learn what a vegetable should really look like.
Let's talk Zucchini. This is what a good zucchini is. Note it is just under 6 inches long. The skin is tender and light green. If I were to cut it open you would see the seeds are so small that you hardly notice they are there. This is what a zucchini is all about. If everyone got a zucchini like this and sliced it up and sauteed it with a little garlic and olive oil, we would make a world of vegetable lovers.
Now look at specimen B. This is not a zucchini. It is a club! The thing is nearly 15 inches long. It weighed near 5 pounds. Let us put that into perspective. My first baby weighed less than this zucchini when I brought her home from the hospital! This ceased to be a vegetable long ago. The dark skin indicates it has become too tough too chew. The seeds will be so big they will unpleasant no matter what dish you put it in. The only good use for this is to make zucchini bread. Which is likely where the idea of zucchini bread came from in the first place.
Which takes me back to that crooked neck squash. Do you know what my mother-in-laws complaint against crooked neck squash is? It is too seedy. I am here to tell you, my gentle readers, that if you don't let a squash grow to the size of a Volkswagen it will not be too seedy. If picked at the proper size you will scarcely notice the seeds inside.
I challenge you to stand up today for vegetables everywhere. Pick a squash or zucchini while it is young. Cook it up and find out how good it can really be!