Thursday, Tracy’s ex-husband comes to apologize to Ken for his behaviour after Deirdre’s funeral. Ken is looking through Deirdre’s cookbook. He tells Robert about her stuffed marrow – an endurance test to eat, he says, but he’d give anything to taste it just once more. Robert offers to make it.
It doesn’t matter to me how many secrets Robert Preston is hiding. It doesn’t matter if he’s a totally different man from years ago. He has redeemed the poor stuffed marrow. Like Ken, that makes me feel disloyal to the memory of Deirdre. But, in truth, she did no good service to what is a wonderful dish.
Stuffed marrow, or stuffed zucchini, is hollowed out squash halves filled with a thick tomato and ground beef sauce baked with cheese on top. The flavours and textures of the zucchini and sauce make a lovely combination, it’s very easy to make and it needs the huge zucchinis that you really can’t use for anything else.
I have enjoyed all the scenes over the years with Deirdre’s stuffed marrow, and the eye-rolling about it from everyone but her. But I feared that Coronation Street did an injustice to the dish. If I, who love it, felt trepidation every time it was announced that she was making it, what would someone who had never eaten it feel if it were served to them?
It is so easy to make that I never thought about someone just not making it very well. I thought it was perhaps a personal vendetta against the vegetable on the part of a writer or producer. Mam’s never smelled like that, Tracy said, it smelled more like a dogfood factory. Ken didn’t disagree, saying he felt disloyal to Deirdre but was actually enjoying Robert’s version.
So, although the scene maligned Deirdre and her cooking skills, the reputation of the stuffed marrow was restored. And for that, no matter what might come, I thank Robert.
I also thank Martyn Hett for a wonderful stuffed marrow cooking lesson.