• Idle Chit Chat

The Best Thing Since Sliced (Banana) Bread

“If I am inundated by yet another banana bread photo, I might even delete my Instagram...”

...I said a mere three hours before I delved into an age-old, brown-paged copy of Delia Smith’s recipes. Of course, I wasn’t actually going to delete Instagram - my bible for current affairs - but the threat sounded decent and serious enough in my head.

From Dani Dyer to Emma Louise Connolly, ALL the Insta A-Listers were trying their hand at banana bread. As story after story began to fill my feed, I momentarily stirred from my position on the sofa to judge. Why did these stars feel the need to make banana bread? Let’s be honest, no one really likes bananas. They’re mushy and kind of gross. AND, to top it off, they’re rubbing their nice houses and culinary expertise in my face. Bag of crisps in hand, I wrote it off as lame and returned to my sofa.

But the more I used Instagram, the more inescapable banana bread became. It crept into my daily isolation life. My dad returned from the weekly shop with, you guessed it, bananas. “It was the only fruit they had left,” he said. No surprise, I thought, snarkily as I returned to Grey’s Anatomy.

A week later, the bananas still lingered mockingly in the fruit bowl. I could barely fight the temptation anymore. As I chewed my nails in the garden, my Dad airily commented, “What do you think we should do with the bananas?” I threw my hands up. “FINE. I’ll make the bloody banana bread.” I did, momentarily, feel a burgeoning sense of shame as I became the sheep I vainly attempt to reject but inevitably succumb to being. To be fair though, I wasn’t expecting to like it.

The shame subsided, however, when I discovered how glorious banana bread could be. I only felt foolish for not realising it sooner!

As you have now heard my banana bread story, more in-depth and self-indulgent than any celebrity’s, I will bestow upon you the few (completely valid) reasons for my newfound love of banana bread.

1. It’s labelled as bread.

This is a simple one. Those uni students amongst us will be familiar with the notorious Fresher’s 15 (a personal trauma for me) and now the Quarantine 15 is weighing down on us thick and fast. Hence, and let us be honest with each other here, an actual, real-life cake (I have seen and studied the recipe) that can not only pass as a bread, but is in fact revered as one, is something that certainly fits with my diet-without-dieting mindset.

2. A subtle way to fatten up my family whilst I help myself to a mere sliver.

For when the Quarantine 15 hits, I have rationally (and cleverly) decided it will be for the best if those I am surrounded by have had a Quarantine 20. Sorry, not sorry.

3. A test of my capability to be a domestic goddess. A recipe just easy enough to excel at, yet just hard enough to seem impressive.

4. A valid reason as to why I will, in fact, not be a domestic goddess.

A complete inability to remember to time anything faults me here. Every time I saunter confidently into the sitting room to inform my, terribly lucky, family that I have made another sweet little delight for them, my sister feels a compelling urge to point out the fateful occasion when what (obviously) would have been gooey and oozing brownies were, unfortunately, topped with a charcoal garnish. I am not in the habit of calling names but I am in no doubt it was the recipe’s fault. Sorry Betty.

5. A step in the right direction to lowering my (quite appalling and outrageous) screen time.

An attempt to rest my frazzled eyes from the glare of the multitude of screens that I can’t put down. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it frankly quite rude that Apple continues to mock us by letting us know our screen time has gone up 5 billion %. It is as though they think I have something else to do other than play candy crush. You heard it here first Apple, I don’t.

6. A reminder that Delia is a rock that will not be budged.

The book I have unearthed has a Special Edition notice on the back; in the 700 odd pages there are a whopping 24 COLOUR pictures!! I must give Delia credit here: it was the 1990s and this probably was a whopping amount. At first, I was sceptical. Where is the fun in recipes without the pretty pictures? But I soon discovered that this was, in fact, a blessing in disguise. What I really, truly love about a recipe book where the majority of recipes do not have an instagrammable and often over composed photo next to them is the utter impossibility of comparing my banana bread with Delia’s. I am confident that hers too looks crumbly, whilst at the same time miraculously wet and doughy, with a crunchy (read: “impossible to slice elegantly through”) crust. Delia has not only provided me with a lifetime of incomparable recipes but a great deal of kitchen confidence too.

And, finally, it is a perfect excuse to use up those manky bananas, which, in normal circumstances, would have festered in the fruit bowl for a while before undoubtedly seeing the inside of a bin liner.

To sum up, this Instagram trend is, to me, the best thing since sliced (banana) bread. And you can safely put me on the bandwagon.

- Amy Smart