Sunday, February 04, 2007

Fresh Banana Layer Cake (Page 731)

  • Date: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 -- 10pm
  • Location: Cambridge, MA
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Alex, Gunther, Shaili, Nicole, Clotilde, and a bunch of other partygoers!
  • Recipe Rating: B+
I made this cake to bring to a potluck at Alex and Gunther's place last week. This recipe was on the list made by the random number generator, and I had been waiting for a good opportunity to make it. There were no garnishing suggestions, so the basketweave and walnut topping in the picture were not part of the recipe. The cake was quite good. The banana cake itself was moist, with a nice banana flavor. The sliced bananas between the layers were a lovely addition. My big hesitation about this recipe though was that the frosting was overpoweringly sweet. The real problem was not the frosting itself, but the frosting to cake ratio in the body of the cake. The 3 layers of cake were each very, very thin, so even though the internal frosting layers were also thin, there was still too much frosting for the amount of cake. If I made it again I would either bake the cake batter in only 2 layers or double the recipe and make 3 thicker layers. Overall though it was a good cake and people seemed to enjoy it.

Last Sunday when I walked in to the kitchen at the homeless shelter, it was immediately obvious that something bad had happened. Even before Danielle opened her mouth to say that Johnny's wife had died, I knew. I could see it in everyone's eyes.

This morning when I walked in, the staff and volunteers on my shift had that same look. Sad, wide-eyed, and a little bit terrified. Only this time, I didn't know why.

One of the staff members who had worked in the kitchen for years died unexpectedly yesterday. He was 44.

Throughout the shift today, people told stories about how great Jack was, how much they had enjoyed working with him, how much they had learned from him... It was really inspiring to hear him eulogized in that way. Everyone loved him. Everyone got along with him. Everyone was deeply troubled by the tragedy. The hours that I spent at the shelter today were sad but beautiful. And as many of us exchanged phone numbers and email addresses (again) to coordinate attending memorial services (sadly, again), it really made me realize what a community we are. The people that I volunteer with every Sunday are a part of my life. As my fellow volunteer Carol noted one week, "Whether we like it or not, we are stuck with one another." I realized today, more then ever, how much it means to me to be stuck with them.

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