Gluten Free Banana Bread Base

2C Flour

1C Light Brown Sugar or omit and use the ~ 6 mega-ripe bananas mentioned below

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Pinch of Sea Salt

5/6 Mashed Ripe Bananas

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Dollop of Mark Molasses

Extras: nuts, raisins, etc.

Bake 350F for about an hour, less or more depending on altitude

There’s a story behind this base bread recipe. The Story of Jude’s Bread.

Some, but not all, understand what it means to wake up in an unfamiliar place. This experience can range to scary to bewildering. Hours can pass, and eventually the feeling in the deep pit of the core cannot be ignored. On a day the wind, rain, or snow doesn’t prevent one from enjoying the multi-sensory delight of walking down the street, with a bit of hunger and curiosity may wander into a cafe. Looking to meet one of the basic needs of life: to eat. After breathing, and water, there is eating.

Sometimes nothing appeals on the menu, and the root of this recipe comes from one of those lucky serendipitous of life: artists in the cafe. The year was something like 2007; the city was Chicago, the neighbourhood was called Wicker Park. The artist was called Jude.

Hey Jude. (sorry, had to.) Had some banana bread for sale. The price fit. I bought the bread, and succumbed to the sopping delight of sweet fruit and grain to what was only an unfed belly of a day, two, or so. My eyes softened, my hunger quieted, and I felt like I would be able to accompany my friends for the rest of the day.

Bread. I knew I was allergic to. I did not know at the time I was allergic or sensitive to gluten; this was long before gluten-free was socially acceptable, let alone a product to buy from the shelves. Though I tried to think anything away, my guts began to writhe in pain. The pain always made breathing difficult to do. Though I had studied yoga and meditation for nearly a decade at the time, focused breathing techniques eventually led me to excuse myself to drive an hour and a half back to where I rented a place to rest.

Despite the personal writhing pain after the mouth and stomach filling pleasure, I understood others would be able to experience the delights at mouth as I had, and hopefully the physical fulfilment without pain. So I planned to get the recipe and make it for a party. Having no contact information of the chef, I asked my boyfriend to get this recipe from his classmate. He didn’t want to, but after some trying, returned home one night from Columbia College Chicago with a piece of paper I wish I still had.

The weekend house party that came was all I needed. I shopped the ingredients and baked the recipe I was given, to witness the gift of seeing my friends happiness. So many people asked for the recipe, and so I made copies of what was written to me. Near the end of that night, I saw Jude. So of course I said: Hey JUDE! come try this bread; which he did. His mahogany brown eyes widened as wide as saucers in glee. My eyes narrowed, squinted and I I asked: but don’t you recognise the taste Jude? With genuine confusion, he did not. I showed him the paper my boyfriend gave me and asked him if it was his handwriting; he said yes it was but didn’t remember….I waited.

Light. Yes, he remembered I was that one in the crowd. I was the one who thanked him for what he thought was a thankless action. I asked him where he got the recipe, more than half expecting a story from his family, which I understand now as a psychological phenomena called projection. He told me point blank: he made it up. Moreover, the ingredients were stolen. Now it was my turn for my eyes widen.

He explained what stolen meant. This meant he took the food from the grocery store he worked at before it went to the dumpster. A wave of comfort and confusion floated around me.

The next day, Jude, and the bread was gone. And over a decade I shared this recipe with everyone I meet, and now those I have not. I never thought much of the story, until I went through quite ordeal and told the story to a friend living in Svalbard. He thought it was profound. I’m not sure I really understand this recipe, but the symbology of the name and events has always stuck by me. Something about Jude; something about the golden rule. Something about Jude’s made up bread and recipe.

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