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Zucchinis in the mist

Have you noticed what a furtive time of year this is? People who are usually paragons of moral rectitude suddenly begin sneaking onto their neighbors’ porches in the dead of night, or breaking into their cars as dawn steals across the landscape.

People who don’t normally ever drive over the speed limit will suddenly dash away when they see a friendly face approaching with a bag.

It’s zucchini time.

The Research Department convened on someone’s back deck with a pitcher of sangria and some corn on the cob, to take on this problem that threatens the moral fiber of our community. As we’ve said before, a zucchini has less nutrition than a napkin, zero fiber, and no taste. For some reason, though, no one wants to waste any, and by “waste,” we mean “use for a purpose other than eating.”

The Research Department feels that the zucchini, like the peanut, may prove much more useful if we don’t restrict ourselves to bread and casseroles. Further, if we don’t find alternative uses for it, it’s possible that civilization, or at least civility, will come to an end.

One thing the R.D. has noticed is that people will drink anything, no matter how much it tastes like floor sweepings steeped in black coffee, if it comes labeled as a “micro-brew.” With that in mind, it attempted to convert the humble squash into some sort of beer, or possibly wine, bottle it attractively, and sell it in very limited, expensive quantities.

Early attempts to ferment zucchini have not been promising, however. It shows a distressing tendency to go black and runny before any activity of an alcohol-producing nature can take place. A trial run of zucchini wine resulted in a back yard in Rural Retreat where the grass will never grow again. Reluctantly, the R.D. has moved from beverages to the fine arts.

For a while, zucchini jewelry showed promise. Baked in a slow oven, slices of zucchini turn a lovely golden-green color and can be threaded onto floss to make zucchini necklaces, bracelets, and even earrings. Of course, the jewelry does tend to soften in the presence of moisture, and attract bugs. Not many examples of haute couture accessories can withstand masses of flies, so the project was abandoned.

Next, the R.D. turned to zucchini-carving, creating elegant centerpieces and gallery worthy sculptures on a variety of vegetable themes. Alas, Mod Podge will not prevent a zucchini from collapsing into goo, and many priceless works of art found themselves in the garbage disposal before the R.D. gave up in despair. Attempts to build zucchini furniture met a similar fate, particularly when the R.D. discovered that a zucchini cannot be turned in a lathe without a result that could be called, with no irony at all, “zucchini surprise.”

One offshoot of that endeavor, however, was the Zucchini Lincoln Log, a handy toy that can double as a snack. The toy industry was unaccountably uninterested, and they also rejected the Lego zucchini, the zucchini-gun, and Zucchini Barbie.

Back at the drawing board, the Research Department nibbled a zucchini matchstick and then wondered if zucchini could somehow be coated with phosphorus and made into REAL matches. At this point, other people on the deck took the sangria and went inside, leaving the whole issue unresolved.

The best advice we can offer at this point is this: Please, please, just throw it away already. The Research Department discovered that it makes lovely compost.

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