July 23, 2012

Blog the Seventeenth: Zucchini in Season

Oniony and finished with egg,  
or maybe mixed with pasta.

I think that any discussion of what to do with zucchini in season must begin with the concession that zucchini bread is only a way to use up zucchini, not use it well.

Zucchini is abundant, it being mid-summer.  What to do with it all?  What a strange problem to have!  We choke on our prosperity.  I once heard an N.P.R. interview in which an impoverished third‑worlder said of America, “I want to live in a country where the poor people are fat.”  We’re not happy we’re fat, so why does being fat look beatific to someone hungry?  Is prosperity an optical illusion? 

How is it abundance becomes oppressive?  We exert ourselves to produce more than we need, and then need to exert ourselves some more to figure out what to do with it all.  We become indentured to our own abundance—the more we have, the more we need, to keep up and use up what we have.  Spending more to grow zucchini in our garden than it costs to buy it on the cheap in season at market, we end up with more zucchini in season than we know what to do with; so we spend some more on ingredients for zucchini bread, to use the extra up, ending up with more of that than we know what to do with; so we go get containers and ribbons to wrap it as gifts for other people who already have more than enough zucchini at hand, whether in their own garden or at the markets.  Conspicuous production leads to conspicuous consumption.