I know what my children will say when they see this post: banana nut bread (in any of its forms, like the banana nut bundt recipe I’m sharing today) is not Spanish. I’ll have to remind them then that this blog includes the recipes that I make at home, most of which are Spanish, but some of which are not. If I make it often enough and is part of my repertoire, chances are, it’ll make it to Mama Ía blog. I’ve been living in North America for over two decades, after all!
When my family came over to spend the Christmas holiday with us this year, I had just made banana nut bundts, and they loved them. My sister Susana wanted the recipe, and I tried to make it again while they were here, but it didn’t happen. I made other desserts and cooked many meals for the crowd, but the banana nut bundt will have to wait for them until we meet again this summer. This recipe will not be categorized as Spanish Cooking in America, as in the description of my blog, but rather, as Cooking for the Spaniards in America. There! I leave you with a selection of photos from our time together, a warm, and at times noisy, and hectic, but always happy, two weeks together.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about desarraigo. I can’t exactly translate the word into English, and the closest idea I can find to it is uprooting, the kind of uprooting that could eventually lead to estrangement. I’ve seen it often enough around here, even amongst my immediate friends and acquaintances. And when I get the question ‘do you keep in touch with your family in Spain?’, I know what they mean, and where they’re coming from, even if the answer is a resounding of course I keep in touch. I don’t think desarraigo will ever happen to me, I am too attached to my family, no matter how many thousands of miles apart we are. We keep in touch in real time, making good use of technology via WhatsApp and FaceTime, in person with yearly summer visits, and this year, too, with this Christmas reunion in Fort Wayne that has been a treat for everyone.
But the next generation, that’s a different story. I have made sure throughout the years that my children stayed connected to their extended family, and I can say with certainty that they feel very comfortable together, and there’s no estrangement between cousins because they haven’t seen each other in months. Granted, again, technology has been very helpful, and my children keep in touch with cousins and grandparents and uncles and aunts.
However, as I see them grow up, go off to college, even study abroad, and consider summer jobs hundreds and even thousands of miles away from home, I have to ponder if this will ever be the case. Chances are one day they will marry. Will their spouses live in town or be more traveled? Will they want to keep in touch with their husbands’ far away extended family? Will their jobs allow them to take those kinds of trips? Will my great great great grandchildren have to look for their ancestors in registries or in genealogy libraries and websites? Will the next generations become desarraigadas?
Living life is about making choices, and we make choices every day. Some are trivial, like, will I have cereal or toast for breakfast this morning. But some are life-changing, even if at the time they didn’t seem that way. Choosing a partner for life is life-changing. A relocation is life-changing. A relocation to a different country, to a different continent, is life-changing, and with major consequences for the next generations. Those decisions change the course of your family history. They’re what make it unique.
It’s hard to know if I would have ever made banana nut bundt hadn’t I been living in North America. It’s hard to know if I would be running this blog hadn’t I moved —my career was not in cooking, or photography, or blogging, but in pharmacy and pharmaceutical marketing. What I do hope is that somehow, maybe with technologies we can’t even imagine right now, desarraigo will be a word of the past for my future generations.
BANANA NUT BUNDT
Bizcocho de Plátano y Nueces
4 or 5 ripe bananas
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs whisky or brandy
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup walnut pieces
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of Salt
Icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, mash the bananas. Add the butter and mix with a spoon. Add the egg -lightly beaten-, the sugar, the vanilla, the liquor and the cinnamon and mix. Add the walnut pieces. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda over the wet ingredients and mix with a spoon.
Butter or grease the inner walls of a bundt cake pan (I used two small ones). Pour the mixture, tap lightly on the counter to even out the surface of the batter, and bake for about 45 minutes (check at the 40 minute mark, as all ovens are different).
Invert the pans over a cooling rack to remove the cakes from the mold and cool down. Dust with icing sugar, slice, and serve.