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?"
4 days ago