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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Why I Stayed Up So Late Writing My Paper

Or, Making Banana Bread

Or, Another Cooking Near-disaster

Also, In Which I Survive an Earthquake

Well, after all those titles, I don’t feel like there’s much else to say, but I do feel somewhat obligated to explain them. Let’s start with the banana bread.

About 3 weeks ago, I found a recipe for banana bread in a cookbook in our house. It looked very good and I wanted to try it. The first problem was getting bananas. Not that it’s hard to get bananas here, but that they don’t seem to last very long in our house. Between cereal, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and snacks, no matter how many bananas I bought there was never any left over. I thought I had finally succeeded last week when three of our bananas started to turn brown, and was waiting for them to ripen some more only to come home and discover they were gone. On inquiring as to what had happened to them, it turned out Will, concerned that they would go bad, had eaten them. Yes, all of them.

Well, I finally got some bananas and all the other ingredients yesterday and decided I would make the bread before starting my paper that was due today (finished and turned in now, Mom). After the usual baking issues here (spaghetti pot as a mixing bowl, etc.) I thought I was all set. I put the butter, eggs, milk and sugar into the bowl (pot) to beat before adding the bananas and flour, but when I went to get our mixer…it was gone. It had been left at another house in our program, which I knew, but had forgotten. Now I had a problem…namely, I had no way to get the butter to mix in smoothly with the rest of the ingredients. There was only one solution.

Using a slotted spoon, I scooped all the butter out of the batter, put it in a saucepan, melted it, put back in the bowl (pot), and continued as usual. Despite all this. the bread was a success (sorry, no picture. I wasn’t fast enough, and it’s all gone now).

However, because I had to mix everything by hand, the bread took considerably longer than I had planned, so I got a late start on my paper. Consequently, I was up until late (not saying how late, ‘cause my parents read this) working. Well, alternately working and procrastinating on Facebook and such. During one of my procrastinating moments, around 1:00 AM, I was talking online with Amy, a girl in my program who lives about an hour's walk from me (I’m in Marston, she’s in Abingdon, for those who care).

Suddenly, I felt my chair shake, as if the floor underneath it had given away. I thought it was odd, but figured one of my housemates had dropped something downstairs (or, you know, ran into a wall for some reason). So I was surprised when a moment later Amy wrote “Whoa. I feel like there was small earthquake in my house. My chair just shook”. Figuring the odds were too big that we had both had our houses shaken at the same moment by independent causes, we decided it really must have been an earthquake. Turns out, we were right. I am now a survivor of the largest earthquake in England in 25 years. It’s amazing what you get to experience when you cook banana bread. After all, if I had started my paper earlier, I would have slept through the quake.


DreamingSpires said...

I was trying to get to sleep, and my bed started vibrating. The thought "earthquake" entered my head, only to be displaced by "This is England -- they don't have earthquakes here." I've always wondered what an earthquake would feel like, and a mild instance such as this seems a nice way to find out.

Andrew said...

I was going to send you a message -- was curious what its effects had been in Oxford. Now I know!

Anonymous said...

You are amazing, Emma! You are so lucky to be traveling the world. I love your poems and stories, especially the one about hot cross buns. I know everyone is missing you in Florida. I can't wait to read more about your life in England!
Much love,

Zachary said...

hmm, it's just been hot here. sounds like you're having way more fun. you have to tell me about london when you get back too. miss you babe.

mk said...

Oh my goodness--I have your mixer. Dane left it at my house ages ago! I'll bring it next time I come out to your house. Sorry I forgot it last time!

As for the quake, I was up too! Crazy British times, huh?

Kit said...

Hi Emma,
I just started reading today, April Fools' Day. What was the scale of the Earthquake? If you get a chance I'd like to know.

Love Aunt K

PS When I have more time I will write how fortunate you are to have such adventures.

Kit said...

Hi Emma,
I just started your blog today, April Fools' Day. What was the scale of the earthquake? If you can answer, I'd like to know. Thanks, Aunt K