Food connects people. When we eat dinner together as a family or we invite guests over to share a meal. When we eat food from cultures that are different from our own or when we make food available to those who are hungry.
For me it is also a way to connect to cancer patients and their caregivers. Every second week our local Hadassah group holds a formal afternoon tea at Stamford Hospital. I’ve written about it before. Although I’ve never actually been to one of these teas nor met any of the people who eat what I’ve donated, I do know that those who are ill and undergoing treatment — as well as the friends and family who are there with them — appreciate our efforts.
A patient undergoing chemotherapy once mentioned that the banana bread I sent one day was the first thing that tasted good to him in weeks. I’ve thought about him a lot, hope he’s well, enjoying food again. It felt good that the banana bread seemed special to him.
This baking has become a way for me to reach out and offer what I could. There is no other way I can think of to help.
The season of Jewish Holidays — Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur finished, Sukkot upon us — is a time of reflection and introspection, a time to think about our place in the world and the meaning in our lives. It underscores for me the need to continue baking, to continue connecting with the patients and caregivers.
This is what I am sending this week.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
15 prune plums, pit removed, quartered
one tablespoon sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3-4 minutes or until creamy and well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, lemon peel and salt and mix briefly to blend ingredients slightly. Add the eggs and beat at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan. Arrange the plum quarters on top, pressing them slightly into the batter. Sprinkle the cake with the cinnamon sugar. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until browned, set and crispy. Let cool. Makes 8 servings