Stuffed vegetables part 1, the hard way

Someone  a long time ago decided that because zucchini by itself wasn’t satisfying their hunger, they would stuff it with more filling ingredients, such as meat, rice and bulgur.

I’ve often wondered who invented stuffed vegetables.  It got out of control when some unknown cook began stuffing and wrapping whatever was handy.

People in the Middle East use a tool to core zucchini and eggplant.  They pick grape leaves and wrap them around rice and meat stuffing or rice and vegetables stuffing.  They use cabbage as wrapper, probably copied from a similar Norwegian dish.  If something can be cored, it can be stuffed.  If something can be wrapped, then it is wrapped.

Although the Moors had taught the Spanish how to stuff vegetables when they conquered them a few centuries ago, the Spanish were too smart to undergo the kind of obsessive work required to core small zucchini.  So when Columbus brought back to Spain sweet peppers from the new world, their national dish became stuffed sweet peppers, which are much easier to prepare.

Americans are more and more exposed to stuffed grape leaves because of this specialty being offered in Greek, Turkish and Eastern Mediterranean restaurants.

Stuffing vegetables is not for everyone. A while ago, my parents came to visit me in America and left my sister in charge of the house and two young and hungry brothers.   My sister who is an, endocrinologist by training and hate to cook, decided to make stuffed zucchini.  She cored about 30 zucchini, thinking that would be sufficient for the next week.  It was painful for her to do the kind of work she detested doing, but she felt a sense of accomplishment when she finished cooking them.

Turning the fire off under the dish, she went to her clinic to do her work  upon her return, she found that our that our two brothers with the help of couple friends had eaten all 30 stuffed zucchini, leaving not even one for her.  She told me that she cried and swore off cooking forever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *