Zucchini Bread 

(pan de vegetal dulce)

Another recipe for people who don’t follow instructions

blimp sized zucchini

3 eggs*

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups white sugar

2 cups grated zucchini

2 teaspoons vanilla extract*


3 cups all kinds* of flour

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon*

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts*

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  

Okay, no point in even pretending to follow instructions any more.

The original recipe called for beating the *eggs till light and frothy before commencing with the rest of the stuff. I didn't bother.  I did go along with the cup of oil, which just seemed so much less work than stirring in a cup of shortening.  Three-quarters cup would probably do it. Next time I'll probably use brown sugar, and less than two cups of it, and probably a tablespoon or two of molasses.

Stir in the zucchini.  I have powdered *vanilla, so I threw that into the dry ingredients and splashed some almond extract in here.

Combine flour* (I used malted barley, rye, brown rice, and amaranth flour for two-thirds of the total, white flour for the rest) and the salt, soda, baking powder...and the cinnamon* seemed such a good idea, I decided to riff on the spices and threw in almost a teaspoon of cloves, about a quarter tsp each of ginger, chili  powder and white pepper. You could use more.

I used pecans instead of *walnuts, as I often do. (Are you keeping up with your asterisk-matching?)

Stir this into the egg mixture.

Instead of two bread pans, I used three of the slightly smaller size generally used for sweet breads.

Bake for about an hour, more if you use two whopping big bread pans.

Cool for hours, then make them spend a day in the fridge. You want that puddingy texture of the sweet bread, or it'll break all up when you try to slice it.

I cut most of the peel off the zucchini, just so it wouldn't have too many of those alarming bright-green shards, though it occurs to me that for holidays you could add maraschino cherries and totally lie about what it is.
You want a story to go with this one too?
I spoil you.

I work in a call center, helping people access their accounts.  Many of those people speak Spanish, and at some point our Spanish-speaking operator left for another job.  The phones malfunction, leaving us unable to patch in a Spanish translation service, our last multilingual service option. 

No problem; I took Spanish for four years in high school, and made it my undergraduate minor in college. 

That was a long time ago, and I wasn’t really paying attention, and studying Spanish in South Dakota in the 1960s is rather like having gotten your downhill skiing experience in Oklahoma.  In the summer.

I was struggling with the language one day, desperately flailing about with a long-suffering Spanish-speaking client on the other end of the line, when a traveler came around.  The work space is kind of a private pied-a-terre in Cubicle Land, where people respect your stuff but occasionally slip in to place a couple Hershey’s miniatures on the desk, deposit an invitation to a candle party or gently lay down a memo from Administration.

“Necesito la numero de cliente,” I earnestly explain to my client on the phone, “en su tarjeta cliente, la tarjeta blanco.”

The visitor behind me has something in her hand, something large.

“Si el nombre de una nino is spelled wrong, llama su oficina central,” I advise, shrugging at the realspace visitor.  I can’t stop talking to talk right now. She has something wrapped in a white plastic grocery sack and is giving me a meaningful look.

“No, no necesita actually tomar la nino into los oficina, just telefonar o go down there con identification y tell them how to spell it correctly,” I advise the hapless client. “Mandamos nueva tarjeta en, um, postal, so then tiene la numeros y nombres correcto por este nino y todos en la familia.”  My high-school Spanish teacher would slap me if he heard what I was committing with this conversation.

Finished at last, I turn around.  The traveler is gone.  On my desk swathed in flimsy white plastic are two giant zucchinis, each the size of the calf of my leg. 

After a week of dicing zucchini into stir-fry and grating it into everything from ramen noodles to apple pie, I must find a recipe for zucchini bread, and so I appropriate and remodel this one.  It’s only fair that I take this bounty back to the office and feed it to that vandal who gave it to me.