Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Remembering

Sunday was a slightly atypical late July day. We had wonderfully cool temperatures in the upper 50s overnight, and the humidity had dropped quite a bit. I decided I could stand heating up the kitchen by turning on the oven to bake something, and thought it would be a good idea to use up some of my frozen zucchini from last year before we're inundated with new zucchini in the garden a few weeks.


While I got out the ingredients, I started to think about the history of this recipe. I was an 11 or 12-year-old Girl Scout and our leader, Gail, used to bake and bring treats to our meetings. She brought zucchini bread, and it was the best I had ever tasted. I asked for the recipe, and being the generous person she was, Gail shared it with me. I made it as part of my cooking badge and Gail proclaimed that it was even better than hers. It wasn't, but she always knew how to make people feel good. From then on, this has been one of my favorite recipes.


As I grew up, my life intertwined with Gail's in many ways. I went to school with her daughters. I married John and saw Gail more often as she was my mother-in-law's best friend and had been her maid of honor. I visited with her youngest daughter when we had the surprise happy coincidence of attending a 4th of July party together at a mutual friend's house in Montana. A year or so ago, Gail moved into an apartment in my sister-in-law's house. Late last year she had surgery on two aneurysms, and things went well. She still had two smaller ones, but the doctors felt they could wait. Sadly, one of them burst, and Gail passed away at the end of May, but it was after a marathon game of pinochle with friends, and Gail was winning.

Gail on the left with her 100-year-old mother. 

We should all be lucky enough to know someone like Gail. Her obituary listed a paragraph of her volunteer activities, all of which she did because she was such a caring person. It also said that she "is survived by many dear friends", and that is so very true.


I've probably made hundreds of loaves of Gail's zucchini bread over the years. On Sunday I only made four, but I thought about the wonderful woman who shared the recipe with me every step of the way. I'm grateful for her friendliness, generosity, ready smile, and of course, her perfect zucchini bread recipe. I am so sorry that Gail is gone, but so glad that I had the privilege of knowing her, remembering her, and baking her delicious zucchini bread recipe.



19 comments:

  1. What a wonderful tribute to Gail! It's such a gift to have role models/mentors in our lives -- and even better when they date WAY back to our girlhoods. I'm sure Gail was thrilled to know you were still baking her zucchini bread long after the girl scout badge was awarded. ;-) (And the bread looks divine.) XO

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  2. Such a lovely memory. It reminds me of my mother's recipes and how I treasure the ones she hand wrote on paper, or whatever was handy like the back of an envelope.
    I purposely only planted a few zucchini plants this summer so as not to be too inundated but, I'm still over-zucchinied!
    One question - in the recipe do you prefer the oil with applesauce or totally oil?

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    1. Thank you! I always use 1/2 c oil and 1/2 c applesauce. I think it makes the bread moister, and fewer calories. Plus that way I can tell myself I'm eating fruits and vegetables when I have a slice (or two)!

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  3. What a wonderful tribute! Beautiful memories of Gail.

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  4. This is wonderful. You were lucky to know Gail, and best of all, she will never actually be gone. Your baking her recipe and sharing it will keep her with the world forever.

    (Now I'm hungry for some of that bread!)

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  5. What a beautiful tribute to Gail! I enjoy making using recipes from loved ones, it brings back such happy memories.

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  6. A beautiful tribute Bonny. And boy do your loaves look delicious!

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  7. What beautiful memories of Gail shared in a moving tribute! And, that zucchini bread looks amazing!

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  8. I'll bet she loved you just as much. And man...that bread does look amazing!

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  9. The bread is a lovely way of sharing Gail's story and continuing her tradition of giving. Your memories of her are rich with family history and the recipe carries on into your own story.

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  10. Don't you just love an old recipe with a history? Especially a personal one! You were really fortunate to have this lady in your life! I cherish the old recipe cards that I have from my mother that are handwritten. I never knew collecting old recipe boxes was a thing until I saw the blog where the blog author does just that. And I never had thought about selling old recipe boxes on ebay, but evidently people do. I am not surprised that people cherish these collections. Even if you don't know the history, you know there is one. So, looking at the recipe, this is also her master recipe for pumpkin bread as well?

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    1. Thank you! Many of my memories of friends and family that are gone are tied up in recipes, and I love recalling them by making those recipes. It's funny, but I have always thought of this as "Gail's zucchini bread" and never made it with pumpkin. It's right there in the recipe, and I think 2 c. of either zucchini or pumpkin would be similar, so I'll definitely try it with pumpkin in the fall. Thanks for asking (and making me take another look)!

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  11. I love this story - zucchini bread AND Girl Scouts in one! I'm going to try that recipe... though I'll make it without egg due to an allergy in the family. I'll let you know if the modification works!

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  12. This is the best kind of tribute there is and I'm glad that you shared it with us. I think the world would be a better place if more of us had someone like Gail to emulate.

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  13. Thank you, Bonny, for sharing this lovely post with us. Of course it made me cry, but my tears were happy ones - that you had the blessing of someone like Gail in your life for so many years. I know she's happy that you are spreading her joy - and that recipe! I haven't had good zucchini bread in years ... it might be time to try it again!

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  14. loved reading about Gail and how our lives are intertwined with people who are adopted family in the best kind of way. I have recipe cards written in my gram's hand and I love that she took the time to write out some familiar recipes. (I made the quiche, yum!!!) (made zucchini bread too)

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  15. What a dear sweet post about Gail. I love the stories in women's lives. I have recipe cards handwritten by my Mom and Gram as well as some from friends along the way. They are treasures, aren't they?

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    1. They are indeed treasures! Many of my memories of friends and family that are gone are tied up in recipes, and like you, I love remembering them through those recipes.

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  16. Such a lovely memory and tribute to Gail. How fortunate you are to have had her in your life. I love zucchini bread...enjoy yours.
    Cheers~

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