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Relish - Monday Musing, July 12, 2021

Dear Church,

Relish. A condiment eaten with plain food to add flavor. For as long as I can remember, my mother would can vegetables from her garden, which was a good way of feeding a family of five kids. My favorite garden vegetable is zucchini, which I am content to have simply served steamed with a small amount of butter. Zucchini grows abundantly in Maine, so Mom would use some of it to make zucchini bread (another favorite), which would be frozen for later use. But my all-time favorite use of zucchini is in relish. After trying zucchini relish, I don’t know why anyone would eat pickle relish again! Mom would make enough zucchini relish to liberally share with the entire family (our batch would last an entire year).

There was a crisis in our household when Mom stopped her annual pilgrimage/return to Maine each summer, electing to remain in Florida – how would we get our annual supply of relish?! [Yes, for years I was spoiled with an endless supply]. I knew the day would come. I could no longer rely on Mom to give us relish, I needed to learn how to make zucchini relish myself. This was a big undertaking because no one (including me) could possibly make zucchini relish better than Mom! Yes, hard to believe, but I have been making zucchini relish for many years now. (Truth be told, Mom will tell you that my relish is better than hers!).

Interestingly, the secondary definition of relish is “great enjoyment,” which fits for me because I simply love to make relish every year! It has now become an annual tradition. Last year, my first year on Cape Cod, there was a problem – zucchini was not as plentiful here as it is back in Maine. More specifically, exceptionally large zucchini is recommended to make relish (the larger the better), and it has been a challenge finding sufficiently sized product.

I have recently been on the hunt for large green zucchini to continue the annual tradition. On my way home following a pastoral visit yesterday, a farmer whom I begged to grow large zucchini called me to say he had what I was looking for. So on the evening before my first day of vacation, I have relished (pun intended) starting the annual tradition of creating a batch of zucchini relish. This very morning – the first day of my vacation – was spent finalizing the process and hearing the “pop” of canning lids.

The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us: “The best you can do with your life is have a good time and get by the best you can. The way I see it, that's it—divine fate.” (Eccl 2:24, The Message). Whatever brings you great enjoyment, may you relish the savory flavor of it in these days of summer on Cape Cod. I will be away for two weeks relishing my vacation. See you in church – after July 26th!




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