I have found that the thing I miss the most about home is the food. I am always so excited to return to my New England Dutch Colonial home in hopes that zucchini muffins and salmon will be waiting on the counter. My mom and I have always been avid home cooks. Ever since I was little she would let me stir while she made signature Coen-family dishes like apple squares and baked macaroni. I was the little girl with flour on her hands and sauce in her hair.
I am still, more often than not, that little girl at heart. Just this past Saturday, I channelled that little girl to make a staple mommy/daughter dish to share with my friends at school. The task after a long day of hibachi and sushi (which were totally worth the extra calories after a week of eating fairly healthily) was whipping up my family’s favorite banana bread recipe. I took a trip to Whole Foods, which my friend Devon lovingly refers to as my “place of worship” because I simply adore it so much, where I bought the all the fixings. Then I headed back to campus to relax, change into some comfy clothes, and get ready for a night of baking.
The group reconvened in the kitchen on the third floor of Knight Hall at 10 p.m. I know what you’re thinking. “Whoa, baking on a Saturday night! These kids are party animals!” Trust me, we know. Not everyone can handle such a vivacious crowd. We try to be as accommodating as possible to our less lively friends but it can be hard sometimes… *sigh* I digress.
As I was saying, we set up camp in the kitchen and I got right to work. Baking with me is more of a spectator sport for everyone else involved because I have a tendency, now that I am older, to take over the kitchen. I think my group of friends, however, was not opposed since they were all ready to settle in and eat the whole loaf of bread before I’d even gone to preheat the oven. I mixed and stirred and made a mess but after about twenty minutes, the pan was ready to be placed in the oven to bake.
Just as I was placing the bread in the oven, one member of our motley crew, with whom I share many-a-night now, came in carrying snacks and Cards Against Humanity. The night only got better. We played many hands and laughed a lot. We laughed until we had tears streaming down our faces. There were funny accents involved and the consumption of lots of peanut butter and an entire bag of tortilla chips, a lot of furniture rearranging, and one heck of a good time.
Forty minutes in, the oven buzzer went off and the game came to a screeching halt so everyone could try the baked good. One by one, members of the game got up to cut themselves a slice and before I knew it we were going back for seconds. I was so happy that everyone liked it but I was also simply happy that I got to make it and bring a little bit of home to Glenside. If I closed my eyes and breathed in right by the oven, I could imagine myself on any given Sunday morning, standing atop my creaky stairs, holding onto the wobbly railing, smelling the amazing scent of banana bread in my home. And although the feeling of nostalgia and reminiscence was nice, it was even nicer to open my eyes and realize that that piece of home I was imagining was in fact sitting in front of me, just in a different form.
I am slowly but surely making Arcadia feel like another home. I am finding my place socially and personally on this journey. Joining clubs helps. Being an ambassador helps. Going to meetings helps. Voicing my opinion in any given circumstance, social or academic, helps. But I’ve got to say, baking banana bread did a marvelous job as well.
The tricky part, though, is with so many friends who wanted to taste it, my whole pan is almost gone only a few short days later. Perhaps I’ll just have to bring another dish to the third floor of Knight Hall… but only if my friends will bring along the fun.
Namaste Arcadia! Here’s to hoping that everyone finds a little bit of home while they’re here and that you all have your own “banana bread” of sorts.