Book  and flowersYesterday, in my post about my daughter Shannon’s wedding shower, I mentioned that I had asked guests to bring a family recipe to be included in a recipe book I had bought. Shannon received many good recipes, and we thought it would be nice to post one (or perhaps more) on the blog.

Shannon picked a zucchini bread recipe brought by her future mother-in-law, Gail Hersom, and it is a good choice. A slice of moist, spicy zucchini bread is very fine indeed. (I can taste it right now.) So fine that the bread alone should be enough to redeem zucchini from the rather bad reputation—unfairly, in my opinion—it has gained over the years.

How to put this delicately? Zucchini is, shall we say, prolific. Very prolific. One hill can produce a lot of zucchinis, and when they are at their peak, yielding more than is seemingly from such a modest-looking plant, desperate gardeners often resort to desperate measures. Bags of zucchinis are abandoned in unlocked cars and on doorsteps. They are foisted on unwilling relatives who don’t have the heart to say no. In short, the zucchini is often considered to be the irresponsible floozy of the vegetable world, and to make matters worse, its abundant offspring have a taste that could kindly be called delicate and might rudely be called boring or bland.

Yet consider the many different ways zucchini can be prepared. There is the aforementioned zucchini bread, and raw zucchini can be grated and frozen in packs to be used for fragrant bread in the winter. Zucchini gives a pleasing bulk to spaghetti sauce. Small zucchini can be sliced and eaten raw with a dip. It can be slightly steamed or sautéed, then used, perhaps with other vegetables, as a topping for rice with a drizzle of tahini. Zucchini can be added to any stir-fry. It can be stuffed. Then there is my favorite way—grilled with other vegetables and stirred into pasta that has been tossed with olive oil, garlic, and chopped herbs. This is good hot or cold, and in the summer my husband, Clif, and I eat it once a week.

Zucchini can be used so many ways that home cooks should embrace this dark green squash rather than recoil in horror from a plant that never seems to stop producing.

So here’s to zucchini in all its glorious abundance.

Zucchini Bread
From the kitchen of Gail Hersom but from her mother

Beat 3 eggs until frothy
Beat in 2 cups sugar, 1 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 tsp of vanilla
Beat until thick and lemon colored
Stir in 2 cups loosely packed coarsely grated zucchini – skin and all
Add 2 cups flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1 cup of chopped nuts
Bake in 2 loaf pans well oiled and floured
Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour
Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan

Freezes very well


  1. My sister Gail got the cooking ‘genes’ in the family – not that the rest of us can’t, but a good cook has a flair of creative instinct – not always inherited by everyone in the gene pool. Gail’s got this instinct in spades. This bread was always a hit in our house, and our Mom – Elizabeth – or Betty, as she was nicknamed, made it often.

    What a wonderful tribute to the zucchini, and to Ma and Gail, too.

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