joy + banana bread

 [go directly to recipe]

 

These bananas have been ripening at me for weeks! They've attracted coconut oil, baking soda, almond flour, honey, and eggs all around them. You’d think with these pals around, they’d have figured out how to get all mixed together and into the oven. Nope. Still on the counter. Day 3 and still no bread

 

I laughed as my brain wandered to a question I heard months ago in an interview on NPR between trans author Torrey Peters and It’s Been a Minute’s host, Sam SandersWhat do you do when you realize what you’ve been doing isn’t working? 

 

You mean, expecting the banana bread to bake itself?!?

 

They were discussing Peters’ new novel, Detransition, Baby about a trans couple that breaks up, one detransitions and impregnates his boss/girlfriend, then asks his former trans girlfriend to help raise the child. Nothing to do with bread, banana or otherwise. I haven’t read the book yet, but it sounds deliciously complex—with this illuminating question that provides a focusing lens to everything. 

 

What do you do when you realize what you’ve been doing isn’t working? 

 

I've written it down on post-its and typed it out. I cannot let go of this question. It's applicable to every area of my life. From parenting, to exercise, to work, to baking banana bread—and on and on and on. 

 

As it rattled in my head, I put on some tunes, got my bowl out to bake these bananas into the bread they were destined to be.

 

I got into the moment, into this song, into the mixing and the answer to this question I'd been contemplating for months, appeared—as it so often does, when I let go of the thinking and let the listening take hold. 

 

JOY! I need more joy! I need more joy in every aspect of my life. That’s my answer.

 

It's not that I have to be happy about the mundane bits of life, but I need to find the joy in the doing of it. I need joy while I get the kids to bed, in researching a new topic at work, when I’m advocating for policies I really care about. I need to find that joy.

 

Joy isn’t something that happens to you, it’s an active act, it’s an act of radical resistance says poet Toi Derricotte. It is. It's not frivolous. It's not a waste of time. It's power itself. Joy is regenerative and it’s exactly what we all need.

 

We ate that banana bread in 10 minutes flat, two loaves. It was ALL joy.

 

Until next week, find your joy—maybe it’s in taking one of our amazing workshops you know, I hope it is! Whatever it is, make it happen—Sandra

  

 

RECIPE—Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

 

Mix the following wet ingredients together. I use a blender or sometimes mix-by-hand in a bowl with a fork.

 

¼ butter

⅛ cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid (if you don't have coconut oil, use butter or a vegetable oil in its place)

½ cup honey

1 small grated apple or a ½ of a larger-sized one 

 

Then add: 

4 quite ripe bananas (5-6 if they're small)

2 eggs

 

Add dry ingredients gradually: 

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2 cups flour* (I love using a mix of flours, often GF if baking for family)

 

Careful not to over-blend the nuts and chocolate if adding:

1 ½ cup walnuts (or any combination of nuts—optional) or replace with 1 ½ cups chocolate chunks or a mix of both!

Topper: Scrape all that yummy batter into a greased 9x4x3-inch pan (I love coconut oil spray). Then, if you're up for a little extra amazingness, do what Britt did to my recipe: slice a banana vertically down the middle and lay the two half banana halves gently on top of that batter. Then sprinkle coarse brown sugar all over them. (Or, if you're Britt, grind up La Perruche brown sugar cubes into a coarse powder) and sprinkle liberally. DELICIOUS! Once baked, this banana turns into jammy, caramelized sweetness! Soooo good. 

 

Bake: for 15 minutes at 375, then reduce the oven to 350 and continue baking for ~40 minutes. My oven bakes hot, so I typically set an alarm for 30 minutes and check with a cake broom. Then bake as needed. 

 

*My favorite all-purpose flour is King Arthur, for GF I rely on Bob’s Red Mill all the way. Britt's go-to salt for baking is Diamond Crystal Kosher salt. 

Let me know how the banana bread turns out for you:

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