|Still Life with Banana Bread|
It was a sign.
I felt the cooking urge rise up in me like sap. Sometimes being an addict is a beautiful thing. You can channel that obsessiveness in a positive, productive way.
I read Maili's recipe, hellbent on making my first banana bread ever that day (July 25th). Whoops. No electric handmixer. I drove to Target, picked up a simple Kitchen Aid five-speed electric handmixer. (White, which was $10 cheaper!) Picked up sour cream from Trader Joe's. First time buying that, too. I followed the recipe diligently, in a kind of hyper-focused trance. Cooking feels similar to a writing trance -- but it's more linear. More meditative. More now. The ephemeral quality of the result somehow adds to the art of cooking. Time is an ingredient. You've got to keep track and stay present, whereas in writing, you can drift in a daydream of timelessness. It's delicious, but disorienting. Cooking seems to be providing balance when I didn't even realize I was wobbly.
When the bread came out and it looked so perfect, I was stunned. It felt like magic.
Deanne Stillman, wondrous author of Twenty-Nine Palms: A True Story of Murder, Marines and the Mojave and Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West, came for lunch (more on that meal another time). For dessert, I offered her a slice of banana bread topped w/warm cherry sauce left over from an appetizer (more on that in another post) and a dollop of Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream. She said she couldn't stop thinking about it (after she devoured it). That it was light and airy compared to other banana breads.
Next time you see two brown bananas, maybe you'll think twice. Ripeness is all. Here's the recipe. Try it and see what happens.
Maili's Banana Bread
If I can cook, anyone can.