So, that’s how that feels.
Monday evening, my kids and I stopped by the Bangor Community Garden so I could show them our tomatoes that are near ripening. What was to be a happy visit — our hard work is paying off! — turned sad quickly when we noticed that more tomatoes were suffering from blossom end rot, a result of not enough water or a shortfall of nutrients — depending on what source you trust. Then I noticed the cabbages.
Or, rather, where the cabbages should have been.
We planted six cabbages in early June. We’ve harvested three, enjoying them as Roasted Cabbage with Smoked Salmon, boiled and in a Tarragon Vinaigrette Coleslaw. We’d also left the roots and stems of the harvested cabbages in the ground — they’ll regrow cabbages that way (and it’s been a successful experiment so far — lots of little cabbages are growing where one was harvested).
When I looked Monday though, there was only one full cabbage left. One entire plant was missing.
And then there were five?
Someone stole two cabbages from us — no small feat, either. You have to cut the cabbage free from the stem to harvest it. And they did, leaving one stem intact in the soil. The other? Well, I found part of the cutting, but they removed the remainder of the stem.
My heart dipped deep inside, clouded over with a loss of security and a worry that all our efforts were for naught. But it was my kids’ reactions that saddened me the most. They asked me why someone would do that — why would someone steal from us? I had to tell them that I didn’t know — but I hope they were hungry and needed it.
When I was 20, someone broke into my car outside my apartment building in New York. I’d foolishly left my car parked in a great spot — a coveted non-metered spot — without checking on it for more than a day. They stole my car radio — a common theft in those days. But with it, they took something far more valuable: my safety and security.
The neighborhood I’d lived in for three years, loving every minute, lost my trust.
That’s all to say, I’ve been here before. But there’s something inherently worse about someone stealing something you and your kids cultivated, cared for and grew with the intention of eating yourselves.
We still have our tomatoes, shishito peppers, cucumbers and Swiss chard growing. And I am hopeful our onions will produce, well, onions. But we really did want those cabbages.
If you’re growing zucchini — or if you have a small zucchini needing to be used — you’ll want to make these muffins. You’ll need to finely grate one small zucchini for about 1/2 cup of shreds.
Making these muffins is an easy one-bowl process. Mix together the egg, milk and oil. Add the flour, baking powder, light brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix well. Let it rest — the batter will puff up. And then stir in the zucchini.
Divide between 12 muffin cups, top with coarse sugar and then bake. Mmm.
They’re excellent hot from the oven.
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup shredded zucchini (about 1 small zucchini)
- coarse sugar (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-slot muffin tin with muffin liners. If using paper liners, spray each one lightly with cooking oil spray to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and oil. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir until smooth, about 1 minute, and then let sit for 10 minutes. Stir in the shredded zucchini.
- Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin liners. If desired, sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar.
- Slide the muffin tin into the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden. A toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins should come out cleanly.
- Remove from the oven. These can be enjoyed immediately, or stored in an airtight container for up to five days.