1/15/09

Pyrex Doesn't Break





*you too can obamicon yourself... after you read this post.

On Christmas Day, my grandmother asked me where I learned to cook. It's not that my family are bad cooks, it's just that it a big passion of mine and it had to come from somewhere, right?

"Probably Ed." I told her.

"Oh, I forgot about him."

"I try to too."

For people that have read my blog for a long time, Ed is my biological father and you can read about him here and why I try to forget him too. But the funny thing is the kitchen at my dad's house is where nothing bad happened. Think of it as a demilitarized zone in the Fortune household. Which is a big relief if you ever lived in a place where you walked on pins and needles because you don't know how your father was going to act on a day-to-day basis. It's a certain type of crazy that I cannot even begin to describe on this blog. I'm not sure how much my grandmother knows but I'm sure she can guess at some of it. I don't need a psychologist to tell me why I love cooking. It was a safe place even with all the knives and heat. Except for pyrex. Pyrex in the hands of some people can be very dangerous. Let me explain.



I was about sixteen and had been living at my dad and stepmom's for a couple of months, after everyone told me don't do it. Even my grandma who never said anything bad about anyone, ever. Even she tried to tell me it was a bad idea. Everything was going along well enough for a girl of 16. No supervision, parents always working, until I decided to borrow my dad's car. You know borrow as in "without permission" or "it's not stealing if you return it before they know." How about we call it, taking the parents car out for a joyride? My friends and I took my dad's car out for a joy ride. Fun... until we wreck the damn thing in Manteca (about 20 minutes away from Stockton) and ran. I remember we jumped a curb, hit a fire hydrant that took out the back axle. So there was major damage. I did what all kids do in this kind of situations, I called mom. I remember her coming to pick us all up and there wasn't much talking going on. It was a long ride back to my dad's and I'm sure you can guess I didn't want to even leave the confines of the car. If my mom knew what was going on at my dad's house she, I would like to think, would have never dropped me off back at my dad's house.

It was a long night. (glossing over the not so funny parts) Eventually, my dad, stepmom, and I ended up in the kitchen cooking dinner. Which was good because I knew I was safe for a time being until....

My stepmom, out of the blue, throws a Pyrex measuring glass at my head while screaming like a fucking banshee "You wrecked my car!" Everything happened fast after that. I ducked and thought, "Holy shit! She just threw a measuring glass at my head. Thank God she throws like a girl and missed." It was quiet for a millisecond. You know that millisecond of shock when you can hear a clock tick... when a situation can get really ugly, really fast or everyone can do nothing but laugh because what else is there to do?

"What do you mean your car?" my dad screamed back at her.

"Uh-oh, this can't be good. Here we go... round two" I remember thinking, bracing myself for another round of shit about to hit the fan with me as the target. But I hadn't really heard right because it suddenly dawned on me that my dad wasn't yelling at me, he was yelling at her. Not because she threw something at me, like you would think a father should defend a daughter but because she worded a sentence wrong. He was mad because she said I wrecked her car. Her car. Not their car but her car. Ooops. Picture me like Jerry the mouse slowly tiptoeing backwards out of the kitchen so as not to get in the middle of their argument. I had had enough for the night and if the focus was on someone else, it wasn't my problem.

(If you need to know, I never once saw my dad hit my stepmom but at the same time when my dad wasn't so nice to me she never stepped in. So you can understand why I was like... every man for themself.)

The lesson is Pyrex doesn't break even when chucked at your head.



Banana Crunch Bread and/or Muffins: (based on Ina Garten's Banana Crunch Muffins, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)

*this recipe made 1 loaf of bread and 12 regular sized muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
1 cup small-diced pecans
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the melted butter and blend. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don't over mix. Fold the diced bananas, pecans, and coconut into the batter. Grease and flour a 9x 5 loaf pan. Spoon half the batter into loaf pan and bake at 350 for approximately 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. With the other half of the batter pour into paper liners, filling each one to the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.

*Tasting Notes: This is my go-to banana bread recipe. The bread and muffins both has this slight sugary crust that's snaps when you bite into it. Then banana nirvana, with a touch of coconut and pecan.

24 comments:

melissa said...

So. Pyrex doesn't break. Good to know.

I sure do love you, K.

Kristin said...

Well shit. There's not much to say to that, but that bread sure does look good!

Ahem.

I have already documented by unnatural love of Pyrex on my site, actually. I currently own about a dozen pieces of it. I'm trying not to buy any more.

tamilyn said...

While I would never, ever laugh at you for getting Pyrex chucked at your (or anyone else for that matter) head, I laughed because it sounded all too familar-in that my family is totally disfunctional and it was Mom and Dad screaming and throwing stuff at each, not us. What kid wants to witness this shit? I bet you try to never lose control in front of your kids, right? Ours have never seen us fight, not once. Raise our voices and tell each other what we think, but never call names or anything else. I know we are doing better with our kids than our parents did with us.

The bread looks good too :)

Chibi said...

Ah, but it CAN explode (and that idea scares the crap out of me).

I never would have thought of coconut -- The Man-Thing isn't a fan, but he won't eat banana bread anyhow. That just means more for me! :)

jack's utter lack of surprise said...

man i love banana bread. ive never had it with coconut and pecans. but i love both of them too. and i love ina. sounds like a win win kinda recipe.

Lisa said...

Well it's good to know that when I need to hum an object at someone that Pyrex would be the right choice.

noble pig said...

It is seriously amazing all that crap happened to you. I hate them, but I love your bread.

Snooty Primadona said...

Actually, Pyrex does break when it falls out of the freezer & hits the brick floor in mid flight. It happened to me over Christmas.

Your story sounds like one of The Brown Recluse tales. What fun memories. Ugh. But, we did survive and have not passed it on. Amen.

ntsc said...

Good looking bread.

SaintTigerlily said...

How lucky - that something as life giving and joyful as a passion for food could come out of something so dark, yes?

I think you, and your bread, are amazing.

phillygirl64 said...

Pyrex will break if it hits concrete...

and it will shatter if subjected to downshock - hot pan from oven placed on much cooler surface

bread looks yummy except for the nuts (the coconut's ok, though ;) )

Karen Lynn Haver said...

That bread looks awesome. Will have to get The Girl to make some, I don't do much baking lately. (Although, maybe some bread later).

As for the pyrex, my brother-in-law was making dinner for my nephew's birthday and there must have been a cold spot in the stock (it had come from the freezer and been defrosted in the microwave), he poured it in and the pyrex exploded. Very noisily, I might add. At least the kids were in the play room.

As for your dad & step-mom, wow. How horrid for you.

Magpie said...

But, oh yeah, when it breaks, it breaks. Into MILLIONS of pieces. I shattered one just a couple of weeks ago, and I wasn't even throwing it at anyone.

Glad you didn't experience that.

Jamie said...

Wow - it seems like this is banana bread week - a few of us have made it and posted it (or are about to), but funny thing is that everyone's recipe is different! That's what I love about baking and food blogs!

Holy Crappers said...

Oh yeah, it breaks on a Terra Cotta floor.

#1

Grace said...

yes, it definitely explodes when transferred from a hot oven to a stream of cold water...
i love that you toss coconut into your banana bread--great idea!

Mayberry Magpie said...

Banana nirvana = good.

Crazy family = holy shit!

I've had plenty of holy shit in my life, so I feel for you, sister.

chefectomy said...

Good thing you ducked! Love the bread.

--Marc

Meg said...

And good thing she threw like a girl. But... oy. There's not much to say about it, I guess, other than it's good you came through it.

The banana bread looks delicious. Coconut does sound like a good addition.

Laufa said...

I'm going to have to try this one - looks yummy!! And I love coconut.
Wish there was another way you could have learned about Pyrex. Glad you have lived through it all to share with your friends.

kellypea said...

My stepfather was an evil jerk, but he never threw anything at me. Amazing how we survive it, huh? The bread looks amazing. I love Ina's yummy recipes!

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Ah, shit girlfriend. What a story. I'm not sure Pyrex would use that example in a print ad.

It reminds me of a guy down the street from me I used to hang with. Somehow we got on the topic of our parents and their particular form of discipline. He told me that he was washing dishes one day when his dad came at him. He picked up the frying pan and told his dad that if he ever laid a hand on him again that he'd kill him.

I remember wishing I was that brave.

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