It is zucchini season once again, that delightful window of summer when zucchini are so abundant that people aggressively push them on family, friends and total strangers. Why, I’ve seen people standing on street corners randomly throwing them to passers-by.
Yesterday, a neighbor texted that she was sending her husband down with some zucchini. Her exact text was “whether you want them or not.” It read more like a threat than an offer.
Zucchini is to the garden what clothes hangers are to the laundry room — you close the door, darkness falls and they multiply like crazy.
Nobody ever asks, “How are your zucchini doing this year?” Zucchini are always doing well — their numbers are always up. Zucchini is the vegetable that keeps on giving. And giving. And giving.
I have often thought of the Old Testament passage describing Jews wandering in the wilderness living off of something called manna that they collected each morning before sunrise. I have concluded manna was probably a lot like zucchini. If not actual zucchini.
Zucchini is not only prolific, it is downright odd. Is there any other food on the face of this planet that people work harder at disguising? Zucchini bread, zucchini pasta, zucchini Parmesan. The zucchini is in there somewhere, but you’re going to have to hunt to find it.
A friend had some ladies over one afternoon and served a lovely homemade pie. She asked us to guess what it was.
“Sugar pie?” someone said.
“Custard pie?” another asked.
“Zucchini pie!” she exclaimed. “You’d never know, would you?”
See what I mean? And they always say it with a “Gotcha!” sort of attitude, like “Hey, you really walked into that one.” I don’t know. I find that unsettling — and I always hope those people never get their hands on arsenic.
Listen, I’m certainly not one to cast the first zucchini.
I made latkes last night and waited until everybody had some to make my announcement.
“They have zucchini in them! You’d never know it, would you?”
They wouldn’t ever know it because they were basically potato latkes with hidden zucchini.
The point is, you cook zucchini with the intention of disguising it. Even people who eat it straight up first sauté it in oil, season it and sprinkle it with cheese.
Lest it sound like I am complaining, let me say that zucchini is very versatile. We’ve even used it to teach math.
If you have a dozen zucchini and your neighbor asks for one, how many do you have left?
None. You unload all the zucchini you can whenever you get a chance.
Lori Borgman is an Indianapolis columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.