“It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.”
― Julia Child
This morning was an Oliver day. And Oliver days are harder to plan for given his propensity for grunting, throwing, and going against whatever suggested activity I have on hand. The trick with Oliver days is to allow about 10 minutes per activity.
After staring at a handful of frozen bananas in our freezer for weeks, I thought we might try our hand at cooking. Cooking with children is not for the germaphobe or the cleanliness faint of heart. I found the simplest recipe I could for banana bread online (I’ll write it out at the end of the post also).
Before I even called Oliver over to the kitchen, I measured and got everything ready. Toddlers don’t wait for no one or nothing. (This is considered mise-en-place [pronounced ‘miz on plas’] for all you Julia Childs fans. I’m fancy that way.)
With toddler cooking you have to lower any and all expectations you have for order. Clear the area as anything nearby will get dirty. First we added our bananas. I throw my bananas in the freezer whenever they get too ripe and mealy. When I collect 4 or 5, I use them for banana bread, so these had already been defrosted and were pretty much mush. Oliver of course wanted to touch them to see what they felt like. (This is where getting over the hygiene of the whole thing comes in…)
I let him pour in all the other ingredients. When it came to cracking the egg, I put my hands on Oliver’s so he could ‘help’, and he loved that part.
Stirring it all together wasn’t pretty and there were a few meeting of the minds about Oliver’s technique (he started with more of a flick…), but by the end he was getting his stirring groove on.
I let him butter the pan and he helped scrape the dough out of the bowl.
And he helped check on it cooking in the oven. (Unfortunately our zillion year old oven doesn’t have a light so I don’t think he could see anything.)
Last but not least, Oliver enjoyed the first bite of his (delicious) toddler-made banana bread. There’s something very sweet about cooking with your child. It takes the right type of recipe, but I try to include the kids in the kitchen whenever I think of it: pancakes, sliced sugar cookies, cupcakes, etc. Remind me of this post when Oliver wins Top Chef, Season 28.
SIMPLE BANANA BREAD RECIPE
- 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.
Makes 1 loaf.