Friday, July 25, 2008

The Zucchini Conspiracy

I've been thinking about this for years now and I'm totally convinced that there is a ZUCCHINI CONSPIRACY in our country. It all goes back to when I was a kid and my parents started growing this strange green squash in our garden. I could appreciate everything else that we grew: corn, tomatoes, peppers, even the cabbage. All of these items had a purpose in the culinary world or served as terrific compliments to other ingredients. But based on the recipes that my mom used to incorporate these strange "cucumbers on steroids" they seemed to have no real purpose of their own.

We didn't eat a bowl of zucchini or baked zucchini or fried zucchini. And you never walked out to the garden to grab a zucchini to eat right off the vine (or plant--whatever it is). We had zucchini bread, zucchini cookies, zucchini meatloaf, zucchini this or that. In all of these dishes the zucchini never served the role of adding flavor or zest. It always played the role of a filler (sort of like lips and "you-know-whats" in a hot dog).

By the looks of 99% of the zucchini recipes I've seen, you could substitute just about any soft, flavorless vegetable, fruit or sponge for the zucchini and get the same result. Take the zucchini out of zucchini bread and do you know what you have? Great tasting bread. Take the zucchini out of zucchini cookies and what do you have left? Tasty cookies! What's a zucchini meatball without zucchini? The perfect spaghetti topper! Do I need to go on? It's the ZUCCHINI CONSPIRACY, folks. There's a group of zucchini seed sales big-wigs that are pawning off this vegetable to us by convincing Americans to cook with it in the most useless ways.

This is not to say that the zucchini shouldn't have a place in our gardens and kitchens. First off, they make great gag gifts for the neighbors. Fill your entire back yard with the plants and just keep giving away grocery bags loaded with them. They're never refused (because that would be rude, right). Most Americans don't want to throw away perfectly good "food" so they come up with ways to use them--and this is how all of those recipes get started. It's crazy!

So, I ask you, "What's next?"


elephantschild said...

You apparently haven't heard of the proper way to use zucchini.

Pile them in baskets and leave 'em on your neighbors' porches in the dark of night.

Tech Daddy said...

I've never like zucchini myself. I wonder if you could adapt a potato gun to shoot zucchini? That may be another legitimate reason to have it around.

Arby said...

The proper use of zucchini is sliced length-wise into thin strips, battered, and fried. They go well with mozzerella cheese and a good red sauce. But, I suppsoe that just proves your point. An old sneaker will taste good if you smother it in melted cheese and a good red sauce.

Wani said...

I happen to like zucchini... are you a vegist? You know, when you are prejudiced against certain vegetables? sigh... I'm very disappointed in you. I thought you were more open-minded than that. How could I have been so wrong about you?
... and isn't it true that anything will taste good if you deep fry it and cover it with cheese/sauce.

Evan said...

The problem with zucchini is that just about everyone leaves them on the vine too long. If you pick them about two days after the flower falls off, when they're about the size of your index finger, they are a surprisingly delicious and flavorful vegetable, before they turn into spongy hulking beasts. I believe the French call them courgettes at this stage. But what else would you expect from the French.

Hunny Bee May said...

My mom used to slice them up and dip them in batter and fry them. Not to bad. I've always wanted to try stuffed zucchini blossoms, too.
However, I totally agree with the whole zucchini bread, cookies, etc...conspiracy.
In fact, I'm against putting any vegetables in any sort of dessert. I don't care what my husband says, carrot cake is a total rip-off and everyone knows it.
My mom used to also make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies in the fall. I would seriously get SO angry at her. I couldn't fathom (and still can't) how someone could take a perfectly good chocolate chip cookie and defile it with a can pureed pumpkin. If you want to add a new, intersting spin on a savory dish or an entre, fine. Go for it. However, desserts and vegetables were never meant to cross paths. Ever. That's just wrong.

Rebekah said...

lol, But I just so happen to like french fried Zucchini (but just about any thing deep fried is tasty- so I get your point)

elephantschild said...

Wani is right.

You have to beer-batter it first, THEN deep fry it and cover it with cheese sauce.

At the Wisconsin State Fair you can get pieces of rubber tire beer-battered, deep fried and covered in cheese sauce.

Tastes like chicken.

Chris said...

As we say down here in the South (with a capital "S"), when you drive into town on a Fall afternoon, always lock your car doors. If you don't, you'll return to find your back seat filled with zucchini.

JAM said...

Zucchini bread, carrot cake, there's all kinds of ways folks get rid of stuff nobody would eat.

Now banana bread, THAT's some gooood eatin'. (otherwise known as nanner bread)

We got a new restaurant called Panda Express about a mile from our home. Lovely wife loves her some Chinese food, so she went just after they opened and brought us home some stuff. Well. I opened mine and was confronted with lots, and I do mean lots, of chopped zucchini in the "chicken with mushrooms" meal. If I'd had a football official's flag I would have tossed that rascal high where everyone could see it.

That was LAME. I won't be eating Panda Express again.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious. I was just going to make Ellie chocolate zucchini muffins since she won't consume any plant product of any kind and, of course, loves cake!

Thanks for the smiles,


Sniz said...

OK, all these comments are so funny...the tire-rubber tastes like chicken, especially. But elephantschild and Chris's comments made me laugh outloud.