Zucchini Support Group

Welcome to the Zucchini Support Group

Here at the Zucchini Support Group we recognize the cultural importance of the zucchini and the effects it has on us as a community. On August 20th I held the first annual Support Group at the Caetani House Art Market. Many people came to drop off zucchinis, many came to ask advice about growing zucchinis and others came to share their experience, tips and frustrations. We received a number of large zucchinis from a member who foolishly went on holiday for a week during zucchini season. The largest weighed in at 10 pounds. Not bad.

Feedback from the event, even by those who didn't attend but enjoyed the press . Next year I plan on holding a larger event perhaps with a zucchini potluck as clearly recipes are what most members focused on. I will include a couple below.

One final note, in discussions with people it was determined that the zucchini is a perfect metaphor for our society. They get planted because not only are they tasty but they are easy to grow. Most gardeners start off planting extra in case any plants should die while young. They seldom do. When the first zucchini are produced the gardener is so excited but other plants start producing as well, plants that need a little more tending, so the zucchini gets ignored for a few day. Before the gardener realizes the zucchini are huge and there are too many eat. Zucchini cakes are baked, soup is made, relish canned but it does little to stem the tide. By the end, out of shear guilt (because we don't want to waste food) the zucchinis are donated or foisted off onto other people. That isn't charity, it is solving a problem. The other side of the coin of course is that there is one thing worse than having too much zucchini and that is not have any at all.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter at room temp
2 cups sugar
3 eggs beaten
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sour cream
3 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt chocolate and oil in pan over low heat. Cream butter until light. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla and beat well.
Sift together dry ingredients and add them to sour cream and chocolate batter. Mix zucchini and nuts into the batter.
Grease and flour two 9 inch pans. Divide the batter into each pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.Cool and frost.

More to come...

Press Release August 16, 2011

Zucchini Support Group invites you to share stories, recipes and even… zucchinis
If you grow zucchinis, know someone who grows zucchinis or have ever had to deal with a basket of zucchinis in your life you know how these strange shaped summer squashes can affect your life. Now, for the first time ever there is a support group for those affected by the summer zucchini influx.
Join storyteller and social art practitioner Gabriel Newman for the first annual Zucchini Support Group at the Caetani Art Market. This Saturday, August 20th, at 10:30 am and 12:30 pm Newman will be collecting zucchinis and hosting an informal story circle where people can share their stories about growing zucchini, how they managed to overcome the abundance as well as tips on how to survive these prolific cucurbits. All zucchini collected will be donated to the Vernon Food Bank.
“There is no greater symbol for the culture of summer in the Okanagan than the zucchini,” states Newman who believes the images of beaches and fruit is all about marketing but it is the zucchini that locals obsess over. “What do you do with all that zucchini?,” he asks. “I remember being quite young at my first job and being so disappointed in the adult coffee room talk because it felt like all people talked about was the latest zucchini recipe,” adds Newman who currently has four zucchini plants in his garden, “four plants are about three and a half too many.”
Newman, known locally for his Ghost Tours of Vernon, also creates community events that celebrate the community’s stories and practices by combining food and storytelling. “I really believe that the dinner table is the most important performance venue we have as a society,” states Newman who recently created “Social Potluck” where he traded a dinner for a story as a way of creating performance, community and connection. He also worked with the Regional District for International Trails Day by creating an Artistic Trail Mix which traded trail mix ingredients for stories and social actions as part of a larger “Art Out” which combined artists and hiking. “I really feel that the stories we carry around inside us are so much more interesting than anything that shows up on film or television. Storytelling is our oldest cultural practice and it is something that everyone is capable of. I have had so much fun listening to the stories that are told. Truth is so much stranger than fiction, especially when it is being told by the person who experienced the event. That is real, live and, as far as I am concerned, great theatre” concludes Newman.
There will be a table set up between 10am-2pm at the Caetani Art Market where zucchinis can be dropped off or picked up, “I realize that not everyone has access to a garden so if you would like a zucchini come on down and take one in exchange for a donation to the food bank,” says Newman who wanted to encourage people to donate extra produce to the food bank. “So much food goes bad in the garden or on our fruit trees while others are struggling to feed themselves,” adds Newman.
The Art Market, located at the Caetani Cultural Centre is a monthly event for the summer and fall. It features many artists, performers, food and activities. This month’s theme is “culinary arts.”
For more information about the Zucchini Support Group contact Gabriel Newman at 250-260-8757, socialpotluck@gmail.com or go to socialpotluck.blogspot.com/p/zucchini-support-group.html.

Please add your favourite recipes and stories...

1 comment:

  1. A Zucchini Story for you: For years we would forget about the last zucchinis growing out in the garden before the first frost. Eventually, when one was sufficiently fat and long enough it couldn't escape noticing, I would haul it inside, carve some silly or inane message in its hardened skin, and leave it on my best friend's door step. One year I had seen someone do something much more interesting... with her oversized zucchini so I copied the idea with great success- or should I say zucchcess? I carved out the length of one side of the zucchini, filled it with water and put flowers from my garden in it. It was quite lovely and kept well in the cooler air of October on my friend's front porch.