In the summer James and I do more traveling and I find myself back and forth from my mom’s house often so she can babysit Lucille for a night or two. I’m close with my mom so I love visiting as often as I can, especially because she has a beautiful private yard with lots of green that I definitely took for granted when I lived with her. She also has all the good baking equipment and that’s convenient for my latest life goal.
This year I decided to try my hand at baking from scratch with ingredients grown from my crumb-sized patio garden. (air quotes) Patio Garden (close air quotes) sounds so much more chic than ‘Old Porch Overlooking A Parking Lot’ which is what it actually is. I’m not growing much in my “garden” yet and honestly it’s felt like more of a science experiment than an actual food source. So far I’ve baked a rosemary lemon cake with rosemary from my porch, served with 3-ingredient blueberry jam (not from my porch) and unsweetened whipped cream (also not from my porch) – definitely worth making again so I can properly document it!
But what I’m documenting today is my zucchini walnut bread made from scratch with my own two hands.
I (OVER)BAKED A THING! I’m not known as a baker by any means, nor a cook for that matter, so this is very exciting for me. I just really, really love making stuff, especially when it’s stuff with an aura of utilitarian necessity …useful things. That sounds funny as I type it but it’s true. I enjoy the simple practicality of making staples for your life such as curtains and mittens …and apparently food items.
What a novel idea.
It’s sad, generationally, how far removed I feel from the fact that the answer to “what’s for dinner?” used to be “well what’s ripe in the yard?”, how the farm-to-table movement is marketed as this radical new enterprise when it used to be the only option. I laughed at myself a bit as my mom and I picked zucchini from her garden and brainstormed out loud what to make with all of it. We’d definitely have to google some recipes in order to put our micro harvest to good use, that was the first conclusion we came to.
When did growing your own food become a novelty? Does my family have any family recipes? What’s the origin story of grocery stores? How privileged am I that picking food feels like a fun way to pass the time with my mom?
These are thoughts I had today as I lazily browsed the internet for some stranger’s mom’s instructions on how to make a zucchini loaf.
Step One: Grow your own zucchini.