I don't know about you, but when my Monday morning looks like this outside,
I get in the mood to bake. So spying a browning bunch of bananas on my counter, I decided to whip up a loaf of banana bread.
Maybe I've been in a particularly introspective mood lately because of all the loss of friends from our neighborhood, but as I gathered the ingredients for the recipe I formed some curious comparisons between banana bread and our neighborhood.
Separately, the ingredients have their own tastes, traits and looks, but as they come together, they form a cohesive batter. Add some (Okinawan) heat and that batter is now a tasty treat that everyone loves.
Of course, as I was following the recipe I "assigned" roles to each of the ingredients: the flour - the one who is the base of the neighborhood who holds everything together; the sugar - the one who adds fun and sweetness; the salt - the one who keeps us grounded to the earth; the eggs - the one who's hard to get to know, but soft on the inside; the baking powder - the one who makes us rise to greater things; the coconut - the one who's a little flaky; the nuts - the one who's a little nutty; the butter - the one who needs to be kept cold otherwise they melt; and, of course, the bananas - the one who may be a little off color on the outside, but without whom our neighborhood wouldn't be complete. I'm not saying who's who in my mind, but it does make for some interesting and funny thoughts while baking!
Really, though, (and I'm getting really philosophical now) I guess this comparison could be made for any social situation. We are all good at being our own person, but blend us together in the right proportions and the right conditions and great things can be accomplished.
OK, I'm getting off my soapbox now, besides, I think I hear the oven timer going off...
BTW - here's the recipe for the world's best banana bread from Mark Bittman's cookbook: How to Cook Everything
8 tablespoons butter, plus some for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork until smooth
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1/2 grated dried unsweetened coconut (not optional!)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
Mix together the dry ingredients. Cream the butter and beat in the eggs and bananas. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients; do not mix more than necessary. Gently stir in the vanilla, nuts, and coconut.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned. A toothpick inserted in the center of the bread will come out fairly clean, but banana bread is excessively moist compared to other breads. Do not overcook. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. To store, wrap in waxed paper.