Many of our most powerful memories are tied to food.
A spectacular cake served at one of our birthdays, a delicious meal eaten at a special restaurant, or a dish made by someone we love.
One of my favorite summer memories is remembering the dinners I used to have at a beach restaurant that sadly doesn’t exist anymore. It was a comfortable family restaurant with great food and friendly service and it was a relaxing place to go after a day spent on the beach. Our son was about seven or eight years old when my late husband and I first started going there and my son’s favorite part of the meal was the warm homemade zucchini bread.
I still can see the look on his sweet sun kissed face when the basket full of zucchini bread would be brought to the table and many times the waitress would put it right in front of our son as though the whole thing was exclusively for him! Of course, his dad loved it too but he always let our son have first dibs.
I have found that retelling stories and memories about the times when my family was three people instead of the current two people is healing and hopefully you have found a healing way to remember your loved one. Every day, in some small way, the thoughts of what it was like when my husband was alive sneaks into my brain and today it happened when I made my weekly visit to the farmer’s market and saw the dozens of ripe zucchinis. The wonderful beach memory popped right up and made me smile.
Zucchini, or zukes as my Dad likes to sometimes calls them, is one of those vegetables that is incredibly plentiful at the end of summer and people’s gardens are usually over populated with zucchinis to the point that they are usually trying to give them away and I gladly accept them if offered. Zucchinis do have anti-oxidant value even though it is lower than berries and is a good source of potassium, which is good for a healthy heart.
I never was able to get the restaurant’s recipe for their zucchini bread but a friend gave me the following one and I have baked it over and over for many years and my son loves this one too:
ZUCCHINI BREAD — ONE LOAF
You can bake the batter in smaller loaf pans but I usually make one large loaf.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, first mix together the wet ingredients:
1 cup of vegetable oil
In a separate bowl, sift together the following dry ingredients:
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
Slowly add the eggs and oil mixture to the dry ingredients, making sure that they are well blended. Next, take a medium to large sized zucchini and grate it until you have 2 heaping cups of zucchini. Pour the 2 cups of grated zucchini into the rest of the batter and make sure it is well blended with the rest of the wet and dry ingredients. You can add a cup of nuts if you prefer.
The batter should be slightly dense. Next, pour the bread batter into a large loaf pan that has been buttered and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.