A few weeks ago I went to the local vege stand (which is actually way bigger than a stand). Its owned by this old guy called Gary who is a bit of a hard case. The first time I went there the shop assistant introduced me to Gary who was quick to point out that his corn is the best in the area and that since he had fathered triplets after eating it that I should try it too. That was a no thanks on the corn but I did buy 3 enormous zucchinis.
I had decided that it was time to make a supply of zucchini bread for the freezer (and to eat warm from the oven of course). I had first made it way back when I was a newlywed in my In Laws kitchen (not that I wasn’t a newlywed in other places too it was just that I made it in their kitchen at the time I was a newlywed everywhere). I had used a recipe I came across in a recipe book there and by a stroke of good fortune I had been talking to my Dad about it and he had requested the recipe. I had dutifully emailed it to him and now since that old recipe book is no longer with us (having succumbed to one of my mother in laws spring cleaning sprees) I was able to use that old and extremely yummy recipe after rummaging through my old emails.
I set myself up in my kitchen, no longer a newlywed but rather a harassed mother of three, and began preparing the ingredients. When I bake I like to have everything set out in vaguely the order they are going to be used. I also like to have the right measuring cups and spoons on hand. I am very particular because there have been incidents in my various kitchens where ingredients have missed out on being included in certain recipes and I like to minimize the chance of this happening. It has gotten more and more difficult to ensure the accuracy of my baking due to the chorus of voices that accompany me. “what’s that? Why are you putting that in? Do you need more of that stuff? Can I help? I want to crack the eggs. I know how, Grandma showed me”.
I do let the children help me bake but not usually when I’m doing a recipe for the first time or when I really just need to get it done fast. I decided this day to just do it myself and let them watch.
I started grating the zucchinis. As I did this little pieces would fly off and land close to the kids. They claimed ownership of these scraps and promptly ate them. Occasionally a seed would fly out. The kids began to notice these and asked whether they could grow zucchinis from them. I told them they would have to wait until spring since there’s not enough time now for the seeds to grow and produce more zucchinis before winter.
Kaitlyn suggested that she would like to eat a seed at which point Emily said “no don’t do that unless its cooked otherwise it will grow a plant inside you”. Kaitlyn’s eyes got very big and round. I assured her that this was not possible and Emily told me that we have water inside us so it should be fine. I told her that there would be no light. This didn’t deter her at all “well if we opened our mouth and shone a light down our throat would that work?” Oh boy, it does sound like it should work but just imagine if it did, we’d all be walking round with all kinds of stuff growing on our insides. Probably wouldn’t have to eat again if we grew the right stuff.
Next came the cracking of the eggs. After the initial cries of wanting to crack them for me had died down the questions started up again. “Mummy, how does the egg farmer know if there’s a baby chicken inside the egg or just a oke (yolk)?” well, here’s my chance to shine, after all I grew up on a poultry farm I can answer most egg and chicken related questions. I tell them that if you want to see you can hold the egg up to a really bright light and see through the shell to check that there isn’t a chicken inside.
Then I had to get all technical on them and I started to explain that there are two types of chicken farm. One that produces eggs for eating and one that produces eggs to be grown into new chickens. So its simple really. The farm that produces the eggs for eating just don’t have any roosters then all the eggs will just have yolks and no chickens. “Does the rooster put the chickens in the eggshells then?” says Kaitlyn. I had visions of a rooster sitting in front of a basket full of eggshells stuffing baby chickens into them like we do with the candy at Easter. This was probably not far from what was going through her head actually. I totally opened myself up for that one. Well kind of, I tried to sidestep; you can’t really have a chicken without having a rooster first.
They didn’t question any further and we managed to make it through the dry ingredients without any major mishaps. I put the loaves in the oven and we waited for them to bake. Finally they were ready and the house smelled gorgeous. I told them that the recipe said you had to wait for 24 hours before eating it. Not sure why but that’s what it says. They didn’t like the idea of that and neither did I so we got to taste it while it was still warm. So totally worth taking the time and finding the old recipe buried in piles of emails.