There is a loaf of banana bread in the oven and so far – it looks just perfect. Perfect. It smells just like the banana bread my mom would make for us and I am suddenly overwhelmed with missing her.
I think my oven and I have come to a mutual understanding; I won’t treat it as if it were ‘just another oven’, and it will refrain from burning the bottoms of my baked goods to charcoal. It’s a truce, hard won ’tis true, but we have arrived at last.
What has it been, four months? Four months next week since I moved into this angled little apartment downtown and almost immediately began fighting with the stove and I think that tonight – at long last- I have mastered at least one recipe. What can I say – I am slow learner. Thankfully, with things like food, you get the chance to redeem yourself as often as you get out the measuring cups and spatula. As long as we need to eat, I will receive ample chances to work on my culinary offerings.
It has been a bit humbling, sending desserts to church potlucks with the bottoms carefully cut off, serving pies or cakes that must be carved out with an ice pick because what appeared to be ‘light golden brown’ on top has permanently burnt itself to the pan, overcoming my terror of ruining yet another tray of cookies, telling my husband that he can have any of the too-dark ones he wants… but it’s been good for me. It’s become a rewarding challenge and I rather like my silly stove. I have a little more grace for my silly self as well – something I am always in desperate need of.
So much of what I need to know about life, I think my crooked stove is beating into me. Or, perhaps, *burning* into me would be a better analogy. It’s life in miniature, in brief, in practice. Don’t take it so seriously, give yourself a little wiggle room. Things aren’t always going to be as perfect as you want them to be – you have to really enjoy the part that isn’t burnt to the bottom. People *are* going to see your flaws, even when you try to do something good, always be prepared to have a goof or two – don’t be afraid to give it your best anyway. Have a little grace, for heaven’s sake! Keep trying. Sometimes you simply have to wing it and pray for the outcome to be edible. Don’t give up. If at first you don’t succeed, turn the heat down and have another crack at it. Pay attention. Slick the pan up real good. Patience makes for better endings. Think outside the box for once. Keep learning. Be flexible. Be Understanding. Love covers a multitude of over-done cookies. Husbands will eat and enjoy almost anything, bless them.
Quick Banana Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (this means different things to different ovens.. just do your best, be flexible and understanding…)
*Have all ingredients at roughly 75 degrees*
1 3/4 cups all purpose flou
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Blend until Creamy:
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp grated lemon rind (I used 1/2 tsp powdered ginger instead)
2 beaten eggs
1-1/14 cups ripe banana pulp
Add one third of the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients then beat until smooth. Add another third, beat well, then add last third, mixing well so that the batter is smooth.
Fold In (Optional):
1/2 cup broken nut meats
1/2 cup finely chopped apricots
Pour batter into a greased bread pan. Bake for an hour, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes clean. Cool before slicing.
– Joy of Cooking
Raspberry Yogurt Spread by Ann 1 cup thick Greek yogurt 2-8 tablespoons raspberry jam (depends on how much flavor is desired) *You can obviously substitute any sort of jam you desire, strawberry would be particularly scrumptous. Blend. Spread on fresh banana bread. Enjoy. Repeat.