I’ve been told it’s a very old fashion thing that I do. I suppose it is because I haven’t heard of anyone doing this for a very long time.
Whenever a new neighbor moves onto the street where I live, I bake them a banana bread. I deliver it on a nice (not too expensive) plate with a welcome note. Most of these people don’t know me and I don’t know them, but it helps to break the ice.
I remember seeing this done on old television shows from the 60’s and 70’s. Again, recently in a very tongue-in-cheek style on a more current show called “Desperate Housewives”.
I simply bake a banana bread and deliver it. What I didn’t realize was this simple act of welcoming kindness goes a very, very long way. Much further than I have ever anticipated.
My neighbors always greet me and this makes me feel so good. Better still, I am always reminded of how much it was appreciated. A couple of times, a neighbor has introduced me to their family and friends as “The Lady who baked them a cake”. It’s sort of a silly title I have.
Baking a cake and delivering it to a new neighbor is actually the beginning of cultivating a new friendship. It also makes people feel they belong where they have chosen to live.
One of the Ten Commandments is to “Love Thy Neighbor”. It’s worth the investment! Living close to people for years almost requires this kind of bond. As in when you need that extra egg, or a flashlight, or a safe place to go for any reason.
In today’s day and age, baking a cake and delivering it to a new neighbor “is” old fashion! With the internet, egreeting cards and all things easily prepared and shipped, why would anyone go to such lengths for a stranger? Maybe it’s the guilt of not wanting to throw out very ripe bananas? – Very cheeky of me!!!
I do this for my new neighbors because I want them to feel welcomed and help ease their stress of moving somewhere new. Moving is very stressful and the last thing you might have is home cooking.
Perhaps you will bake a new neighbor a banana bread? This act of “Welcoming Kindness” might catch on and more joy will spread. In hopes of this, I have included my recipe for an excellent Banana Bread.
Suzanne’s Banana Bread
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch of honey (my addition, it’s the love)
3 super ripe bananas, mashed with a fork (I use my hands)
1 1/4 cups un bleached white flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I sometimes use this depending on requests)
Preheat oven to 350 f
Combine eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla in a bowl using an electric mixer at a medium speed. Mix it until it becomes creamy. U can add some honey also. Just a pinch.
Add the bananas and blend also. It’s fine if it is choppy from the bananas. Add the flour, baking soda and mix at a medium speed for about 1 min. The mixture should be creamy looking.
Put mixture into a buttered 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Bake for about 55 min. Don’t over bake!
Remove from the pan when completely cooled.
The love is always the added honey and a welcome note.
Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an author/writer/columnist/educator. She contributes every Monday morning to the West Island Blog’s Keeping it Real Column.
She is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column “Keeping it Real”. Please visit her website to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry at www.suzannereislerlitwin.com