Banana Bread and a Ponder

Lives. There are approximately 7.2 billion lives struggling through their daily routines right now across the earth.

Jacked Up Banana Bread (1)I say approximately because that number is constantly changing; people are continuously being born and dying all day every day, so it’s basically impossible to ever really know what the world’s population is at any given moment. However, seems to be cool with the 7.2 number so let’s go with that. The part I want to focus on, that I want you to sit back and ponder for a moment, is the word ‘lives’.

Jacked Up Banana Bread (3)All across the world there are people exactly and nothing like you shaking hands, missing appointments, smiling, crying, who are terrified and exhilarated, expectant and somber.  Every time I start to mope about how the dishes still aren’t done or my hair is just not parting the right way or the drain is clogged in the bathtub from my ridiculously curly head of hair I force myself to sit back, close my eyes and meditate for a minute on how many people would kill to have my problems.

Jacked Up Banana Bread (4)It doesn’t always work.  Sometimes I just want to throw a fit about how he’s still not ready to go, how the dog is once again whining to go outside or how the cats have chewed up my latest craft, but those few times when I can really visualize it I’m always taken aback by the vastness of it all, by the insignificance of myself, and by the amazing powers of baked goods.

Jacked Up Banana Bread (5)So today I want you to try this with me.  I want you to put down the scrubby brush, close the door to the kids room and set your lover up in front of the tv and just sit back in a comfy chair with a warm blanket in your lap (preferably made even warmer by a purring kitty) and wonder with me about the happenings of an entire planet.  Then I want you to make some banana bread and remember that your life is beautiful and you really are lucky to be living it.

Jacked Up Banana Bread (6)This recipe is one I found on Smitten Kitchen.  Deb Perelman is one of my biggest inspirations; her recipes are always easy-to-follow and delicious, her photographs simplistic but helpful, and her writing style contains something you just don’t often find on cooking blogs: a big dose of reality.

Jacked Up Banana Bread

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 to 4 Ripe Bananas, smashed (depending on the size of your bananas and your preference for the level of banana flavor in the bread)
75 g (1/3 Cup) Salted Butter, melted (if you don’t have salted just add a heavier pinch of salt)
190 g (1 Cup) Brown Sugar
1 Egg, beaten
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Tbsp Bourbon (optional, a little more vanilla extract is a good substitute)
1 tsp Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
Up to 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Nutmeg
Pinch of Ground Cloves
190 g (1 1/2 Cup) Flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon in a large mixing bowl, mash the butter into the bananas. Once ‘goopy’ with a few banana chunks mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla and bourbon, then the spices. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and stir in. Add the flour last, stirring just until blended. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve, preferably with a mug of hot milky tea (or apparently, if you’re like me, skip the tea and drink the milk).

Jacked Up Banana Bread (7)