A few days ago I decided I needed a little break. I felt a tightening in my chest and the first inkling that a cold might be brewing. I made careful preparations for what I expected would be my little “confinement” of several days. I made a trip to the grocery store to lay-in provisions and prepared a big pot of chili to get us through a few Mom-not-cooking days. Feeling safe and secure that I’d dealt with all possible contingencies, I took to my cozy bed, resplendent in its fab new microfleece sheets. A happy hibernation ensued. I spent a luxurious afternoon of napping interspersed with healthy doses of the Duchess of Devonshire’s delightful new memoirs. “This is the life,” I thought as I snuggled down, that is, until the next morning when my beloved husband woke me with these terrifying words, “I fear I’ve let you down.”
In my sleepy state I was immediately plunged into all of the terrifying possibilities…..adultery, financial ruin, a hitherto undisclosed addiction? What horror could be rocking my carefully constructed world? “I forgot to put the chili in the fridge last night after dinner! It spent the whole night sitting out on the counter!”
Poor Jeff! He was completely undone. As my friend Evie put it so well, “If that’s the only way he’s let you down, you don’t have a thing in the world to complain about!” and she’s so right! Just like spilt milk, potentially poisonous chili isn’t worth crying over.
I reassured him, and realized my little “sick-out” was over. It was time to rejoin the world and get up and at ‘em. I realized that, while nothing of any consequence had happened in my very brief absence, a few little things had gone awry. Nothing earth shattering, of course, but not only was the chili a casualty--it turned out that Felix had gone to school without any breakfast.
In the spirit of comforting those we’ve “let down”, I offer up one of Felix’s favorite things—a humble loaf of banana nut bread. Completely easy and thrown together from things I always have on hand, nothing smells so delicious, or is quite so beckoning to the hungry, afterschool boy who went off without any breakfast. And you’re right, of course. He should make himself breakfast. Of course the chili should have been put away. But really, it’s all just regular old life in which, of course, things don’t go according to even the best laid plans. Nothing says, “Sorry I let you down” better than a freshly baked loaf of banana bread, especially when the “letting down” was really nothing. And now that I think about it, perhaps it’s really just saying, “ I love you and we’re all in this together, through thick and thin.“
Upon final analysis, however, I think Felix and Jeff will think it’s merely saying, “Eat Me!”
Banana Nut Bread
Makes one loaf
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2 to 3 mashed ripe bananas
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream the shortening, add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix briefly and then add the bananas and mix well. Add the chopped nuts and mix. Put batter into a well greased loaf pan and bake for one hour and ten minutes.
Remove from the oven and after about 10 minutes, turn the banana bread out of the pan onto a metal rack to fully cool.