That Time Arnold Palmer Saved the World from Alien Zucchini

May 30, 2022 | Cooking, Food

…and Didn’t Even Realize It!

I was 19. My parents left the country for ten days – and left me in charge of the house, the kitchen, and two zucchini plants. My mother’s instructions went something like this: “Don’t burn down the house, don’t fall in love while we’re gone, and check on the zucchini every couple of days. It looks like a few are almost ripe, and it’d be a shame to let them go to waste and rot out there in the garden. It shouldn’t be much trouble; there are just the two of them.”

I didn’t burn down the house.

And I did check on those zucchini plants. I dutifully plucked the dark, green summer squash and tucked them into in the fridge until there was no room for anything else. And still they continued to be fruitful and multiply. I began to envision them as the first wave of alien zucchini pods, little infiltrators poised to take over planet Earth from my kitchen. I supposed it was my patriotic duty to eat them, but I wasn’t terribly fond of zucchini. I wasn’t even sure how to cook them. My mother had always shooed me out of the kitchen, saying, “Go on, it’s just easier to do it myself.” I opened the refrigerator door and gave those zucchini the evil eye. They were unmoved and unintimidated.

I began to tear through the cookbooks.

And there, in a cookbook my mother put together in 1976, called Mrs. Cratchit’s Kitchen, was a recipe for zucchini bread, contributed by none other than the famous golf pro, Arnold Palmer. Armed with a grater, a large bowl, and a wooden spoon, I read Palmer’s blueprint for defeating the alien zucchini army:

wp-1454733380173.jpg

By the time I was done, I had vanquished the foe and stocked up on enough loaves of zucchini bread to feed my girlfriends and all their boyfriends for a week. I could hardly lift my right arm; it ached and throbbed and hung limply at my side – worn out from stirring so many batches of the thick, heavy batter.

I refused to make zucchini bread again until after I had a Cuisinart food processor.

I had to draw my own Purple Heart. In crayon.

Next up, another grand, culinary adventure: Calamari Marinara with Couscous. Or, Chewy Rubber Bands with Lumps of Damp Concrete.

I eventually learned my way around the kitchen, and still make Arnold Palmer’s zucchini bread – I only wish he knew how grateful I was not to be squashed by the insidious squash.

Epilogue

I’ll be honest: I’m no sports fan. In fact, I think the “any interest whatsoever in sports” gene skipped me and doubled in my daughter. But Arnold Palmer is special. For my daughter’s first birthday, I wrote to nearly 160 celebrities in various fields: actors, politicians, royalty, sports figures, pioneers in medicine, musicians, artists, writers, and others. I asked them to help me make her first birthday memorable, since it was a big milestone in her life, but the odds were good she wouldn’t remember a minute of it. And just as Arnold Palmer had come through with a recipe to save the world from evil zucchini, he came through for me:

wp-1454733558632.jpg

Thank you, Arnold Palmer.


This was originally posted on my older blog, “It’s All a Matter of Perspective.” As with most technology, it’s all a matter of time before those posts fade into the sunset, to be salvaged here or lost to the Wayback Machine.

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.

4 Comments

  1. Mitchell Allen

    What a delightful tale. You are silly and wonderful at the same time. I think that your efforts for Katie’s first birthday is so superior to the trends, these days.

    Cheers,

    Mitch
    Mitchell Allen recently posted…Bombs Away!My Profile

    Reply
  2. Jill ebstein

    Great post and I recently wrote about zucchini bread too. I have so many memories of this weird bread. Love the Arnold Palmer story and love the story in general. Thanks for writing and sharing.

    You’ve got talent. Jill

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Thank you, Jill!

      I don’t know why, but the last two times I made it, I forgot a whole ingredient – this time, salt. It was still tasty! (My husband actually liked it better, I think.)

      Reply
  3. Kathryn LeRoy

    I like sautéed zucchini, but making it into bread is the absolute best! Loved the story, and yes, that batter is thick.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge
 


Copyright © 1998-2020 Holly Jahangiri
Nothing on this website may be used without prior written consent of the author and owner.

Let’s Connect!

Do you like "unlimited" like I do? Subscribe to Medium for just $5/month, and read everything there is to read, for no extra charge. Use this link: https://hollyjahangiri.medium.com/membership and it will directly support my writing there each month.

Subscribe by Email, Dashboard, or Telegram (Follow.it)

Subscribe to this blog
Click to subscribe by email, dashboard, or Telegram using Follow.it (does not require a WordPress.com account).

Looking for Excellent Web Hosting?

PeoplesHost Web Hosting

 

I have been a happy customer here, myself. While this is an affiliate link, I'm just happy to promote PeoplesHost, because I have had nothing but great customer experience with them as my own web hosting provider.

Whats Your #OneWord365?

Post Categories

%d bloggers like this: