Thursday, May 27, 2010

Call and Response: Zucchini Bread

I always try to pick a theme for the recipes here. Granted, sometimes the theme is just "what were they thinking?" but there's always an attempt at theme-ing. Usually, during the course of a week, the theme takes a few unexpected twists. I thought that the Cook Book Presented by The Fishwives of Charleston Oregon would be all about the boats and the scrap fish recipes of the southern Oregon Coast. Then, I settled in on baking. But here we are, and it seems pretty clear that the real theme is "My Mom."

Today, we start off with the Fishwives' Zucchini Bread.
Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 c. McKay's oil
2 c. sugar
2 c. peeled, grated zucchine
2 tsp. vanilla

In a separate bowl mix:

3c. McKay's flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. walnuts

Beat the eggs until light and foamy. Add next four ingredients; mix lightly but well. Add flour mixture and blend. Add nuts. Divide batter in two greased loaf pans, and bake 325 for 1 hr. or until done. Remove from pan at once and cool on rack. May be frozen for future uses, and it is delicious.

--Kay Wells
--Betty Brown
I wonder what Kay and Betty's story is, why they are both credited with this recipe. Are they sisters, sharing a family favorite? Were they rivals, each claiming the superior recipe, when really they were identical? I also wonder if everyone knows when a quick bread like this is done, as "or until done" is a bit vague. Here's my take: use the toothpick/broomstraw/knife method--insert the pokey tool of your choice into the cake/bread, pull it out, and see if there's any wet stuff clinging to the pokey tool. If so, let it cook a bit longer. If not, it's done. Now we're all on the same page.

Okay, with one detour: yes, I've been known to use an actual broomstraw to test my baked goods. If it disturbs you, well, more baked goods for me. You're safe for right now, though, as our broom didn't survive the Snowpocalypse we had this winter. Anyway.

So, what did Momma have to say about Kay & Betty's Zucchini Bread? Nothing directly--she didn't annotate the page.

She did, however, slide in a slip of paper, upon which she wrote:
Zucchini Bread

1 hr. at 350°

5 eggs
1 1/2 oil
3 c sugar
5 tsp vanilla
3 c zucchini
4 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 c soda
3/4 tsp Baking powder
I've got to assume Mom meant 1 1/2 cups of oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda; it doesn't make any sense otherwise. For assembly, I'd follow the order listed by Kay & Betty. But, oh, it makes me smile to think of Mom rewriting this.

Momma had a recipe box. There's no reason that she would have to put a favored recipe into a cookbook. So, she chose to put it here, between pages 180 and 181. Take that, Kay & Betty.

I have only the vaguest memories of the kitchen in Coos Bay. Most of those are probably false, just the mind putting in placeholders of imagined kitchens and homes; we left Coos Bay when I was 3, after all. But I remember Momma baking. It would be grey and damp and cool out--it was Coos Bay--and she had two little ones under foot. I think I remember where the loaf pans were stored. I think I remember where the oven was, opposite the sink. I remember Don Quixote (our cat) looking in through the screen door from the back stoop. And once again, the theme takes a turn, and it becomes more about the shadowy memories of childhood.

What will it be come tomorrow?

1 comment:

  1. It would be interesting to compare memories of Coos Bay. In my memories, there wasn't a screen door off the kitchen, just a door with steps going down to the basement, with the door to the backyard at the bottom of those stairs.