Two months ago, my son came home from school raving about the zucchini bread baked and brought to his 3rd grade class by the instructional aide in his class, Corinne Le.
The charming Mrs. Le had baked a treat for the class to keep up their flagging energy during a long morning of standardized state testing in May. Gotta love our public school teachers and staff; they will do anything necessary and within reason to keep test scores high!
“It’s goooood,” he said. “And she gave me the recipe, so can we make it? It’s really, really good!”
Why yes, we can!
In fact, it made an excellent baking lesson, from how to grate a zucchini without grating your knuckles as well, and how to crack an egg without getting the shell in the batter. Then there was the lesson on how to properly measure flour, sugar and spices (exact measurements necessary…the eyeball method won’t work!). There was the lesson on how not to stir the batter so much it gets rubbery (especially with quick breads), how to grease the pan (use non-stick spray, or use the wrapper from a stick of butter), and how to test the loaf to see if it is done. And let’s not forget the lesson of once the loaf was in the oven, how to clean up the dirty bowls, utensils and floor.
I still remember a lesson from my own childhood – I had proudly made the cupcake batter and poured it into the cupcake tins, and in my zeal to get to the delicious beaters and bowl for licking, I had forgotten to put it in the oven! My mother entered the kitchen, saw the forlorn pan still on the counter, and told me the rule was “lick the bowl AFTER you put the dish in the oven.” See, these things stick with you!
Little flecks of green are zucchini shreds!
When you break a simple recipe down into its parts and components, you begin to see how much there is unspoken in most recipes. If you really, truly wrote down everything you did and the best way to do it, every recipe would take a slim novel to describe.
The experience of the zucchini quick bread also taught following directions, grace under pressure while your elder explains concepts, a steady hand, using the proper tool for the job, delayed gratification (as we waited for it to bake and cool) and how to wait (im)patiently for it to cool all the way down, so you don’t cut it too early and cause it to be gummy.
And the final lesson? That life is sweet, and if you do the job, you get to lick the bowl while you wait for the loaf to bake.
Thanks Mrs. Le, for once again prompting an environment of learning, and for the excellent recipe! Now that zucchini is in season, we’re all over this one as a repeater.
So many delicious lessons in life, so little time.
Here is the recipe for the Spiced Zucchini Bread. It’s a keeper!
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