SUMMER 2011. ZUCCHINI. 08.19.11
Before we speak words understandable to anyone but our parents, or walk on our own two feet, we begin to learn one of life’s early and important lessons – sharing. At first, it’s a toy or snack we’re asked to allow a friend or sibling to enjoy alongside us. As we grow older, the concept broadens. We share emotions, or an experience, or the glow of the limelight after a job well-done. On a daily basis, I plead with my children to share. Any parent of young children can relate. Tell me about your day. Let your brother have a turn. There is no such thing as “the bigger half.” Yeah, well I don’t care whose it is.
This week, I was reminded of the profound power in this most basic life skill. I had just returned from delivering a thick wedge of peanut butter pie to one neighbor, when another knocked on my front door. “Do your boys like watermelon?” she wanted to know (answer here). With a warm smile, she handed me a newborn-sized homegrown melon. I cradled it in my arms, cooing softly as if I was accepting a swaddled bundle of joy. It’s a boy!
A short while later, I was invited to enjoy a beautiful lunch on the sun-drenched roof deck of yet another set of lovely neighbors, who were testing and photographing recipes for their next cookbook. Did I want to join them for a meal of grilled soft shell crabs, flounder, mackerel, lamb shoulder and various summer salads made with ripe, local vegetables? Be still my growling belly. As a token to my gracious hosts, I brought a small basket of goodies from my parents’ garden, which I had obtained in an exchange just days before. When I delivered my offering to my parents (hint: one is nearly 6, the other just 3), they returned the favor with a voluptuous basket of peppers, several varieties of tomatoes and sweet, juicy peaches. A nice trade for all, I think. They had grown all but the peaches in the prolific rectangular plot in their side yard. And finally, as I bounded up the hill towards home after a walk the next morning, I was stopped by the same neighbor who had shared ramps with me earlier this spring, resulting in this dish. She invited me in, handing me a bag of pears picked from the backyard of their West Virginia get-outta-the-city home and a large Mason jar filled with pear juice they’d made at a “pressing party” that weekend. Arms, belly and heart full, I took one moment to breathe it in. These are the feelings sharing can evoke – warmth, happiness, love, friendship, gratitude.
Whether you’re being buried alive with zucchini bursting from your own garden, or you’re blessed with kindhearted, green-thumbed neighbors like mine, this week is sure to please. If the ideas below don’t get you going, check out these recipes from prior posts.
Next week it’s back to school! I’m whipping up dishes that go seamlessly from the dinner table to the lunchbox. Until then, I leave you with this quote by Donna A. Favors, “…it’s only through sharing that friendships are born.” Simple, yet spot on.