My garden is at its peak now with an over-abundance of squash, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and now, blackberries. Yesterday being a cooler day, I decided to cook up a mess of squash bread.

Since I had so much squash on hand, I decided to make a double batch. The batter filled half dozen small loaf pans clear to the top. It didn’t take long for the kitchen to fill with the delicious aroma. 5 minutes later, I detected a slight burned smell. I guess I shouldn’t have filled those pans so full. I checked on them, and sure enough, every one of them was overflowing and dripping on the bottom of the oven. I figured there was nothing to do, but finish baking them, then clean up the mess. When the timer went off at 35 minutes, they were golden brown and slightly crusty on top. I took them out of the oven and turned it off so it would cool down so I could clean up.

A half hour later the oven was cooled so I could clean up the mess. It was worth it for those nice loaves of squash bread. But, what is this? Every one of the loaves had caved in in the middle! And, on further inspection, I could see they were all undercooked in the middle.

What to do? Putting them back in the oven to bake more would burn them on top. Throwing them out would be a total waste of ingredients and time. My solution was to dump them into microwave safe dishes, making sure the undercooked parts were on the outside and the done parts were on the bottom or in the middle. Although this was a bit messy, the uncooked portions were quite pliable and the re-formed loaves even looked presentable. Surprisingly, this worked and we had yummy squash bread for dinner.

As usual, cooking is somewhat an experiment. Some things you try work great, some are so-so, and some are a complete disaster. What I learned from this is not to overfill the pans when I make squash bread. Besides overflowing, when they are filled too full, the middle of the bread doesn’t gets cooked by the time the outside is done.

I did end up with a “mess of squash bread” in more ways than one!


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