Wednesday, 26 September 2012

What's the use of handwriting?

A few weeks ago, I wrote that I wondered what relevancy teaching handwriting would be in this day and age.  I have now found the answer.  If one cannot read handwriting, one cannot make scrumptious recipes for things like zapple crisp, Thanksgiving rice dressing, or pumpkin pie.  That's because all those recipes are hand-me-downs that have been written on recipe cards.

We received a rather large zucchini from our CSA farmer.  We decided as a family it would be destined to some sort of dessert.  We were limited, though, by what we had on hand.  No chocolate chips for chocolate chip zucchini muffins.  No desire to mess around cutting up maraschino cherries for a cherry zucchini loaf.  But we did have lots of rolled oats on hand.  So we decided to make zapple crisp.  For those uninitiated, zapple crisp is pretty much like apple crisp, except there is zucchini in it instead of apples.  It's a great way to use up zucchini in a new and interesting way that everyone will love.

Nicholas decided to lead this project, knowing that the dish at the end of the rainbow was yummy-delicious.  So, I dug out the recipe from the recipe box and asked him to gather up the ingredients.  Shortly after, I heard grumbling from his part of the kitchen.

"Mom, this is handwriting.  I can't read it," was his response when I asked what was wrong.

So, we looked at it together, line by line.  It turns out that some of it was hard to read, either due to my handwriting style (why do "e" and "r" and "u" and "i" and "l" all look the same?) or because the recipe was well-splattered from repeated use.  Oh, and it was written with green pen, which hasn't aged so well.  And I had written abbreviations he hadn't seen before ("what does 'c.' mean, Mama?)  But when we went through it slowly, together, it started to make sense to him.

Once the zapple crisp was prepared and in the oven, Nicholas sat back.  "You know Mom," he started.  "You should re-write all of your recipes in printing.  Or at least print anything new you add." 

I smiled sweetly at him.  "You know Nicholas," I replied.  "I can write faster than I can print, so I think I'll keep on writing."  And, fingers crossed, here's hoping he'll keep on cooking so he can keep on learning!

Here's the recipe for zapple crisp:


  • 6 cups zucchini - peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1/4" slices
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil

Method of madness:

  1. Lightly oil a 9" baking dish.  Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Simmer zucchini and lemon juice in medium-sized pan for about 15 minutes, until zucchini is soft.
  3. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger and cook for 5 minutes more.
  4. Remove a few tablespoons of liquid from the zucchini mixture.  Dissolve cornstarch in liquid.  When no lumps remain, return the liquid to the zucchini mixture and stir.  Move zucchini mixture to the baking dish.
  5. Mix oats with remaining brown sugar, salt and butter until the mixture becomes crumbly.
  6. Spread the oat mixture over the zucchini and bake for 20 minutes or until brown on top.


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