In Nana’s Garden

Last week, I rented “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” – the remake with Donald Sutherland – and watching it, I had an uneasy feeling of deja-vu. Not because I’d seen the movie before – okay, I love it — but because…I don’t know…there was just a drifting anxiety that somewhere, at sometime, I’d had a close encounter of the third kind with pod people. Over the weekend, during the full moon, I sensed a stirring in the garden; venturing into the vegetables, I gingerly lifted a broad leaf. A shaft of moonlight illuminated a teeming underworld of massive sea serpents…body snatchers….zucchini.

*

 We pickled it, canned it, sautéed it, made it into bread and gave the bread away, made it into more bread and tried to give the bread away, shredded it in spaghetti sauce, pureed it into soup, honed it into strips and served it raw with Roquefort dip. In desperation, we punched holes in one particularly oversized specimen, attached grapes to toothpicks for eyes, added a dried garlic-grass tail, and showed up at a friend’s house in an attempt to pass it off as a gift.

We did all those things and when we awoke, it was a sorcerer’s apprentice nightmare, the “Groundhog Day” rerun: there was more zucchini awaiting us than all that we had consumed and preserved.

We came home. I called my mother.

“Do you have any zucchini?” I asked.

“Not that I know of,” she said.

Not that I know of? “If you have zucchini, you know it,” I said.

“Next time you come in, bring me one,” she said. “I’ll salt it, drain it, pat it dry, slice it, dip it in flour, and eggs, and cracker crumbs and fry it. It’s sooo good. Or else I’ll make zucchini pizza.”

I was there in ten minutes with a zuke the size of our propane tank.

*

Mary Ann and Shirley were working at the Museum. “I’ve done bread, cake – and I have a recipe for zucchini jam, but I haven’t tried it yet,” said Shirley. 
”And, of course, mock crushed pineapple. Peel the zucchini, slice it in two pieces, chop it up, add a thing of pineapple juice -”"

“A thing?”

“A can, just enough to fill the jars, pour it all in hot, sterilized jars, and put it in a cold water bath for about 20 minutes. Tastes just like crushed pineapple.”

“That may be the worst recipe I’ve ever heard, ” I said.

“Yeah, and when you make it, don’t forget to peel off all the green stuff, because that doesn’t look like pineapple in the jar.”

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