Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Click Click Black Bananas

Every morning I hear her, a woman walking by in heels, click, click, scuff, late for a train, late for a bus? The windows are open, it is fall, but even when the windows are closed sounds carry and penetrate, they are single pane. Why does she wear heels if she is always in a hurry? It is an uncounsious ackknowledgement of morning like seeing the sun's light beginning to fill the curtains or hearing the birds trying out their morning chirps- I must get up; it is really a new day. Click, click, scuff she hurries.

I've been thinking about hurrying. I am too often in a hurry, hustling to get this and that done- put clothes in the washer, make breakfast, wash dishes, take out the recycling/trash (weekdays), clothes out of the washer, next basket into the washer, hang up the clothes, sweep the floor while thinking of what to do next. I throw a ball into the air with one hand using the momentary space to make a shopping list for dinner; it goes on through my day- too many things to do and no way to get them all done. My children consume a lot of my time; they need a lot of support. They are extremely distractible and have trouble staying on task. Old school, they would have been left alone to flail and fail or perhaps to receive a few whuppins. I didn't find that very helpful so I am navigating another route- focusing on routine, not time, focusing on self-awareness, not fear. I don't have much to report from the front-lines other than it's heavy fire out there.

In the mornings my children are a delight of energy, swarming this way and that way, "Let's sword fight," says the Moose daily. "Mama come and get me," calls the Mule. They are everywhere and no where. I make breakfast, the minutes tick by, I am waiting for them to calm down. They do calm down, when the medication hits. Finally, they can focus on eating, walk to school with an awareness of cars passing nearby. Here, children walking to and from school share the one lane roads with bicyclist, mopeds, motorcyclist, cars, and trucks- traffic awareness is essential. At the school day's end, they return, amping upward to their combined frenetic distrations. I repeat and repeat, "When you are finished with this, put it away," and, "No, do not get out another thing until you put that away first." There is a trail of stuff in their wake none-the-less.

Today I was greeted with an outstretched hand of semi-wilted flowers and a "Mama, I picked these for you." The Moose is the essence of sweetness, picking flowers in route to home, oblivious of course to the concept of time where a twenty minute walk takes an hour. He also had a few rocks in his school bag. He wants to make a tool, a rock tied to a stick with a chiseled edge. He saw one such tool in a book. He explained, "You need to help me Mama. You have to use a knife to chisel the edge." I replied, "That sounds more like a Dada project to me. I like making cakes and bread. Is there something like that we could do?" The Moose replied, "I want to pound something with my hammer you know?" I thought a moment and said, "We could pound some sunflower seeds (they are all over the road at the moment) and see if any oil comes out." We walked home from piano lessons. The Mule had run ahead; she was waiting on the front steps for us.

Autopilot is what I was hoping for at this stage- the kids would have a routine and, well, just do it. It doesn't happen that way, not at my house. Worried about kids getting fat? I hear that you should not let them sit in front of the TV and eat dinner. At my house, if the TV is on, you can't get my children to eat period. I cajole, I threaten, and still they barely remember to take a bite. Someday I hope my husband will be around more to help on this front. He is exhausted by his job that never ends; me too. Dinner sounds like this, "Oooh, grab the spoon." "Are you sitting at the table?" "Did you finish your rice?"

I asked the munsters, "What do you want for dinner?" The Mule said, "Rice and fried potatoes." It might be her favorite dinner- she eats a lot of it anyway. I made stir fry so she had to eat some of the chicken and asparagus. She mostly eats vegetarian but from time to time she will eat a bite or two of chicken which is more than I can say of the asparagus. To paraphrase Sick Boy in Trainspotting, "For a vegetarian, you don't eat many vegetables." The Moose likes stir fry. I have two variations of stir fry sauce: ginger, garlic, dried red chilli pepper, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce OR ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and tobanjan. I'm in the market for Thai green curry paste. New recipes for dinner enter into my repertoire slowly, over years. However, new recipes for baking lure me, call me, regularly.

The Cookbook
I did finally do something with my black bananas. The Mule even helped. The Moose was busy making a loincloth for his Lego Indian Cheif. The recipe called for mashing the bananas with lime juice- it is a banana bread with chocolate chunks and walnuts. Its called banana loaf, but its more of light cake made heartier with the addition of walnuts and dark chocolate- works with milky coffee or cold glasses of milk. I keep contemplating the recipes from this cookbook because I really like cake or treats worthy of tea, and there are a lot of tea worthy recipes in it.

recipe from Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra
Banana Loaf
Mash 2 bananas with 2 tsp of lime or lemon juice. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 325ºF/160ºC. Grease then line a loaf pan with parchment paper (I used a 6" round because I like tea things to be in the form of a cake). Sift into a bowl: 1 1/3 cups of flour + 2 tsp baking powder + 1/4 tsp of salt + 1/4 tsp of nutmeg. Cream: 1 stick butter, softened, + 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar until lightened in color. Mix 1 egg + 1 tsp vanilla extract and then add to the creamed butter mix. Then add the banana mix, adding the flour mix in 3 batches using a balloon whisk (though I had to use a silicone spatula). Blend gently. Fold in 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts + 1/2 cup of dark chocolate pieces. Transfer into the prepared pan. Bake x 60 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean from the center. Remove from pan onto wire rack. Remove the parchment paper and leave to cool completely. Enjoy.