Nailed it.

“I’m just going to go look at the garden,” my Grandma announced as she got up from her seat on the patio. I followed her to admire the plants in our small box garden. “Don’t take over all the space,” she said to our zucchini plant, which does appear to be taking over the entire garden. “You have one zucchini coming here,” she said pointing to a tiny growth in the base of the plant.

“Look at all those flowers,” I said with pride just as Grandma began plucking all of the golden blooms from the plant. “What are you doing?” I cried. ” Don’t we need those so we get more zucchini?”

“You don’t need these,” she said as she plucked another flower from the plant. “You can go make pancakes inside. Now.”

The way Grandma said it told me that this wasn’t an invitation I could refuse. My mind scanned back to all of the times I had seen my Grandma make pancakes with zucchini blossoms. I recalled frying and flour, but not much more than that.

“You can just take them home and make them,” I offered.

“Oh no!” She said. “Let’s see if you can do it.”

Something told me, I would never be able to do it like my Gram and she would have no problem telling me what I could have done better.

She finished pruning the flowers and inspecting each bud for bugs. “Just use one egg, maybe some milk…Don’t forget to count how many people there are. You’ll use just a spoonful for each pancake,” she demonstrated spooning the batter into the pan after she handed the flowers to me.

I was slightly annoyed as I left my Mom, Grandma, and daughters on the patio. Why was she asking me to do this now? She knows I won’t be able to do it like her…she should just do it herself.

But there is no arguing with Grandma. So I pulled out a cutting board and chopped the zucchini blossoms into smaller pieces. I added an egg, a half cup of flour, and a splash of milk- guessing my way through the process. As I began mixing, Adi, my middle daughter joined me in the kitchen to observe. Eyeing the batter, I said, “Let’s run this out to Grandma and see if she thinks it looks ok.”

“Does it need more milk?” I asked as I lowered the bowl for Grandma’s inspection.

She held her fingers up and said, “A little more water.”

Back in the house, I added some water, mixed again and then carefully spooned the batter into my waiting pan. The entire time, I braced myself for the criticism I was sure would come. Grandma’s pancakes never looked like this. Maybe I didn’t use enough oil. Her’s always seemed to bubble more and get more golden.

After a few skeptical flips, I layered a dish with paper towel, the way my Grandma always does. I handed the plate to Adi. “You deliver these to Grandma. Tell her you made them.” Adi happily took the dish, excited to play waitress.

I held my breath as she handed the dish to Grandma back on the patio. “They look good!” Grandma said as she took and pancake and took a bite. “Good!” she said as I looked at her suspiciously.

“Really?” I asked surprised.

“You did good,” she said again.

The words of my kids’ favorite cooking show came to mind. “Nailed it!”

11 thoughts on “Nailed it.

  1. My mom used to make zucchini pancakes too. I never liked them much, but everyone else in the family did. Looks like you “nailed it!” You turned stress into delicious happiness. Loved reading this.

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  2. Now I’ve got to try!! We’ve got a gazillion flowers out there! My Nonna used to make stuffed zucchini flowers, which, back then, I thought sounded nasty! Your self doubt was evident throughout the piece which made me celebrate your success all the more! Way to go YOU!

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  3. I love how you shared your vulnerability. You made me realize we will always see ourself as a child to some people, but when they might see us for more than we give ourself credit for.

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  4. Grandma sounds like a hoot. No sense wasting a lot of energy on the niceties. Just say it like it is. That makes the “Good!” even sweeter. You painted her really well.

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  5. Your grandma’s personality shines right through in this fun/stressful moment. I love the way you let the tension build up and then… nailed it! Now you can take on the zucchini pancake role – and if my zucchini ever blossom, I’m going to try them, too!

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