Thursday 14 December 2017

Mummy dearest... my uterus is starting to feel uncomfortable

Her mother is on 'uterus watch', while Sophie White is left to lament the daughter that she will never have

Banana bread is an old favourite.
Banana bread is an old favourite.
Sophie White

Sophie White

Everyone in my family is very concerned about me having another child, so much so that my uterus is starting to feel uncomfortable, as if it is being watched by a large group of people all the time. Which it is.

Uterus-watch began in earnest with my mother when Yer Man turned one, and she realised that we might be considering planning a pregnancy for a change. She has been pretty vocal about the decision - which, I'd like to point out, has not yet been made. Though, with all the opposition from her, I'm tempted to have a baby in defiance.

The implication seems to be that I am struggling to manage with one child. Phrases such as, "You're barely handling things as it is" and "holding on by a thread" are regularly used to describe my approach to parenting. The uterus and I could tolerate all this, except that lately the opposition has been coming from further reaches of the family. A cousin recently greeted me with, "You're not thinking of having another child, are you?" It seems the family are staging a subtle intervention of sorts. This is fine; their intervention is essentially moot, as they are intervening with someone who is in total accord with them.

However, my mother has, through her interfering, unwittingly highlighted one pretty convincing reason for making another human: the next one might be a girl. As my mother outlined her views on what is my decision, I imagined what it would be like to have a daughter. I realised that, for my whole life, I have been on the receiving end of the mother-daughter relationship. If I never have a daughter, I will never be able to perpetrate that special kind of boundary-crossing, suffocating, rage-love on my own daughter.

I would be denied the opportunity to pay it forward, as it were. To offload the burden of the mother-daughter relationship, like my mother did with her emotional hangover from my granny. Without the possibility of unburdening myself through punishing a future generation, instead I must find solace in comfort eating. Banana bread is an old favourite, but the addition of savoury tahini, cut with the zesty marmalade, gives this old reliable a new twist.

Banana Bread with Tahini and Marmalade

Makes one loaf.

You will need:

2 ripe bananas

3 tablespoons of butter, melted

1 egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

200g (7oz) caster sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

A pinch of salt

185g (6½ oz) flour

100g (3½ oz) chopped pecan nuts

2 tablespoons softened butter, to serve

Tahini, to serve

Marmalade, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C, 355°F, Gas 4. Place the ripe bananas, the melted butter, the egg, the vanilla extract and the caster sugar in a food processor and blend until smooth to combine. Sprinkle the baking soda and the pinch of salt over the mixture, then transfer it into a mixing bowl and sift in the flour.

Gently fold in the sifted flour until there are no pockets of flour remaining in the cake mixture. Stir in the chopped pecan nuts. Line a loaf tin with baking paper and pour in the banana bread mixture. Bake the banana bread in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until it is firm and an inserted knife comes out clean. Allow the banana bread to cool fully before slicing.

To serve, spread the sides of each slice with softened butter and place them in a non-stick pan. Fry them for a couple of minutes on each side until golden. Drizzle each slice with about a teaspoon of tahini, and top with a teaspoon of marmalade.

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