It’s Saturday night and the CU Buffaloes football game plays in the background. My in-laws and husband sit in our den, yelling occasionally at the tv. These are the noises of comfort and of fall, of predictability, and of safety. I cherish these times with my family, and cheering for the alumni team is never a bad thing.
I get bored watching football, though, and so I decide it’s time to bake. I look in my inventory, er… pantry, and pull out chocolate chips, flour, sugar, baking soda, and put the frozen bananas to use. Yes, banana bread is an easy, cozy recipe that takes less than an hour.
Log on to Pinterest and find a simple recipe. Do I have all the ingredients? Check.
Combine ingredients, blend, pour batter into pan, put in oven and set the time.
Thirty five minutes. Should be good to go. Return to football game.
Timer goes off. Complete the toothpick test and toothpick comes out clean.
Wait fifteen minutes. Take out cutting board and turn pan of bread out onto the counter.
The beautifully golden crust starts oozing all over.
“Oh shit!” I mumble to myself. Then, louder, “Oh shit, OH SHIT!” as the gooey, chocolatey mess sludges and expands all over my counter top.
Thirty five minutes was not long enough. Frantically check recipe which clearly states bake for 40 – 50 minutes.
Scoop up half baked banana bread and spoon liquid dough off of the counter and back into the baking pan. Set timer for twenty more minutes.
The result, a crispy on the outside, delightfully chewy on the inside banana bread. I call it “twice baked banana bread.” Still tastes good, but looks less than appealing. I think the blurriness of the photo does the situation justice.
Sometimes, this baking exercise feels like a metaphor for my year. Attempts at moving forward got turned upside down.
The illusion of a beautiful exterior got smushed as my efforts collapsed, and the ooey gooey emotional mess was left. And those emotions spread all over the place.
I think the last few months have been our attempt to scoop back up the remnants of the muddied ingredients, and we are in the oven cooking into a new form.
Here’s the key though. I did not give the bread enough time to become beautiful. I rushed and as a result, the outcome was less than ideal. So remember folks, give your bread enough time in the heat to transform into what it was meant to be.
Plus, there is always someone who likes the crispy, burnt edges.