When zucchini starts looking good, you know you have a problem
Illustration by Brad Fitzpatrick
I love my husband. I have to state that up front, because sometimes he makes me nuts.
For those of you who have never gardened, gardening requires four main things: planting, watering, weeding and waiting. If you don’t weed or water, then you’re just waiting for weeds.
Bill doesn’t like weeding or watering. Thus, we have weeds. Lots and lots of huge, healthy, hearty weeds. At a certain point, weeds look like something one might have planted.
Occasionally, Bill will attempt to tame the jungle. Although his garden isn’t huge, he can’t remember everything he planted. Thus, a large stocky plant might be tomatoes or broccoli, so he leaves it … especially if it’s thriving.
By the end of August — after the peas have died, the green beans aren’t so green and it is clear that we are only going to harvest three tiny ears of corn — our only bumper crop is pumpkins.
This is ironic, as I am not a fan of Halloween, nor am I a big seasonal decorator. Years ago, I told Bill that we will not be putting out jack-o’-lanterns. For the three cars that pass by our house every day, it would hardly be worth it.
Bill still wants to grow pumpkins, though, so he grows the edible kind. There’s probably a name for them like “Orange Delicious” or “Fall Delight.” I don’t care. These plants successfully survive drought and weeds, and we end up with more edible pumpkin than any household needs.
The man that I love so very, very much picks them when it’s convenient for him, then puts several on my counter. He assumes the Pumpkin Fairy is going to process them in her fairy kitchen far, far away.
He is wrong.
After days of hoping he’ll get around to taking out their disgusting guts, baking them and putting the stringy meat through a food processor, I end up doing it myself.
At this point, I have to do something with it, so for days we have pie, bread, pancakes, cake, more bread, muffins, a different kind of cake and more bread. I offer it to my friends on Facebook. I sneak into my brother’s house and put it in his fridge. I fill numerous disposable plastic containers with ready-to-cook pulp, in case someone asks for it.
I love pumpkin-flavored food, as do my children. It’s a rich flavor, though, and I wish I’d bartered pumpkin meat for a nice zucchini or two. Ironically, we have a critter that eats our zucchini, but not the pumpkins.
Sigh … What I’d give for a few zucchini. Zucchini casserole, zucchini bread, stuffed zucchini, grilled zucchini. Maybe I can exchange some pumpkin for some of those zucchinis the neighbors leave on a card table beside the road with a hand-made sign saying “FREE!” Maybe those three cars that pass by might stop at a table at the end of my driveway and take away my pumpkins.
Someday scientists may discover that pumpkin meat is an antidote for poison ivy or Lyme disease. In the meantime, lock your car … the Pumpkin Fairy may pay you a visit.