THE SMELL OF HOME
Zucchini bread is one of the few foods that immediately takes me back to my childhood. The smell of it reminds me of summer at home, breezes in the heat, and Mrs. White, our neighbor.
We children visited Mr. and Mrs. White ten times a day, I believe, as we rode our bikes up and down the country road. It seemed there was always something interesting going on there, in an old-fashioned way--rug-beating, bunny petting, gooseberry cleaning, hand-milking of the cows. One day, Mrs. White offered me some zucchini to take home.
What would we do with it--how should we eat it? I asked.
You can make bread with it, she said. And she gave me this recipe:
Mrs. White's Zucchini Bread
3 eggs--beat until foamy
1 C. oil (yep, you read it right!)
2 C. sugar (yes, this is correct too!)
2 C. grated zucchini--include the rind
2 tsp. vanilla
Mix these lightly but well. Add:
3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. nuts
Bake at 325 for 1 hour in two greased loaf pans. Remove from the pans at once.
Then I'll never forget what came next. In my young ignorance, I asked her what it meant to grate the zucchini and she told me that you just use the grinder, ya know. No, I didn't know...so she showed me.
The Whites had two porches. The winter porch was glassed in, and you could put things out there in the winter, such as food you had no room for in your refrigerator. But the summer porch was an addition to the house used for all those hot tasks when you didn't want heat in the house. It was open to the breezes. It was like a wonderful workshop just for ladies, all set up for serious work--the ironing board with heatable flat irons, the canning supplies, and THE GRINDER clamped to the old wooden table, all ready to go.
She grabbed that zucchini and ran it through the grinder before I could blink. I was so very impressed. But I was also sad, because I knew that we did not have a porch with a device attached to the table like that.
Nowadays I reach for the hand grater from my cupboard when I make this bread, but I almost always remember Mrs. White when I do it.