Blogging Without a Camera (and Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread)

The bread posing luxuriously on top of whole zucchini should be your first tip-off that I didn’t actually take this picture.*

No, it was only after making this delicious Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread recipe, that I realized that our trusty point and click Sony camera had finally bit the dust. Not that I can really fault it. When you’ve been repeatedly stuck inside the mouth of boiling pots of stews and chilis, manhandled roughly in loud smoky bars, or too often been conveyed through an airport security Xray machine, you probably will throw in the towel at some point too. RIP, Mr Camera. You served us well.

Which leaves yours truly, obviously, without a camera. I have had my eye on a fancy SLR for quite some time, imagining I would procure it when Mr Camera heaved his final breath, but nowhere in my plan was there a RECESSION underway when such event took place. What would you do, readers? Fork over the $1200 (in these oh so trying economic times) for the schmancy camera that will make everything look like it was cooked by angels, or settle for a four or five hundred dollar camera comparable to the one you already had, all the while lusting for your friend’s Canon Rebel? Please, discuss…I will just be over here munching on my third or fourth serving of Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread, which just so happens to be a pretty fantastic Veggie Fake-Out.

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Italian Grandmothers Love Ceci Bean Salad

Throughout my childhood, my Italian Grandmother always tried to get me to eat chick peas. On salads, in soups, anywhere she could fit ’em. It wasn’t enough for her that I ate nearly anything else she put in front of me, in fact, she just used that as ammunition (“But you eat smelt sandwiches!” she would cry.) No matter what she did, or how she presented them, chick peas remained my one culinary hold out (luckily she never tried to get me to eat cottage cheese – I am still holding out on that one till this day).

Twenty years later, and enter a very-Italian boyfriend and his Mother. It mattered not a lick to these people that I was part Italian (“But I’ve been to Italy!” I would cry, “I make my own sauce! My Grandma’s maiden name is Santamaria!!”) It was all for naught. My hair was too red, my eyes were too blue, my skin was too fair, my name too…not-Italian. Thus, very-Italian boyfriend’s mother took every chance she could to teach me the ways of these mysterious Italian people and their culture.

Did I know that Christmas brought the feast of the Seven Fishes? (Yes)

Did I know to drop the “a” on every Italian word imaginable, like “Mozzarell“, and “Ricott“? (Well, that’s actually more of an Italian-Americanism, but I’ll give it to you)

Did I know that in some parts of Italy, salad is often served after the meal? (Yes, cause I have been there. Have you?)

It was only be a matter of time before these people tried to make me eat chick peas.

They sat on the kitchen table of his Nana’s house. In a small little bowl, accompanied by wafer-thin crostini. “Aren’t you going to try the Ceci Beans, Kitty? They are pronounced Cheeeee-Cheeee…” (I know). These people came from an era where it was still a grand insult to your host to not eat what was put in front of you. There stood the dreaded chick peas, ironically enough, as the true test of my Italian heritage. Nana fixed a tiny plate for me, I held my breath, and took a bite.

A bite, as it turns out, of Chick Pea Nirvana. I didn’t know they were so nutty! And smooth on the inside! Or how perfectly they went with the intense taste of raw garlic, the zingy lemon, the crunch of the thinly sliced celery! I ate with abandon. Nana had to get more bread. That lemony olive oil that sat at the bottom of the dish couldn’t be wasted, I sopped it up with whatever that woman would put on the table.

“I like her”, Nana told very-Italian boyfriend. “Good appetite.”

“She’s Italian?”

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