My father used to grow zucchini in my parents’ backyard garden every year. When it was time to harvest, he would bring over humongous green summer squashes the size of my forearm with a huge grin on his face. “Look what I brought you! It’s homegrown!” he would proudly say, emanating such childlike joy and enthusiasm.
I always looked forward to this time of year when he would bring over a bounty of zucchini regularly. My dad had a natural green thumb and often shared his desire to one day open up a stand at our local farmers’ market. Although I knew this was not realistic, I loved listening to him share this dream with me. He also loved sharing the fruits of his labor with neighbors, friends and family. With the monstrous summer zucchinis, I often baked him bread. I think he quietly knew he and my mom would receive loaves of zucchini bread which I considered a fair trade for both of us.
While shopping at the farmers’ market today, I was both happy and a little sad when I saw the huge zucchinis being sold at some of the stands. A flood of emotions surfaced as I thought about my dad and his love for “homegrown” zucchinis. They were reminiscent of the variety my dad used to grow and share with me. At one dollar each, those zucchinis being sold today were an amazing bargain.
I looked for the biggest zucchini I could find among two wooden crates and handed the stand attendant the wrinkled dollar bill that was tucked away in my pocket. I brought the squash home with both dad and the thought of baking zucchini bread on my mind.
With my daughters playing at friends’ houses and my husband and son taking a nap, I turned on some music, made myself an iced coffee, and started shredding zucchini.
The inspiration behind today’s zucchini bread recipe is not about baking with your children or having them help you in the kitchen. As much as I love zucchini bread, and I do, today’s post is really about fostering an environment where family traditions can be established and resulting memories are firmly rooted in our hearts -long after the people who shared in them are gone but not forgotten.