Almost five years ago my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 8,000 miles away from me, and I didn’t have one single comforting thing to tell her. Instead, she patiently waited on the other side of the phone as I sobbed, cried, screamed and finally had no more sounds coming out of my throat. I felt dried and beat to death. She said, “…it’s going to be okay.”
A week later, both my brother and I were on planes home to Buenos Aires. I was flying from New York, and my brother from LA. The surgery was going to start at 10am, and my dad was taking her to the hospital as I stayed behind waiting for my brother to land – we would have just enough time to get to the hospital before she woke up. We are a tight family of four, plus Bonita (then a three-year old overweight Airedale Terrier), and most of the time we all fought for the stage to tell a story, or decide what to have for dinner. However, we were all walking ghosts that morning, looking at watches and clocks and trying to decide whether or not we would be better off in two hours, two days, two weeks or just never.
My brother and I had different experiences of the situation. While he had been up to date on every doctor’s visit and exam, I was told last minute, when the doctor confirmed it was indeed cancer. The three of them had decided that keeping me in the dark was the better option for everyone. So as they plotted, worried and did all the needed medical follow ups, i spent my days in New York trying on winter boots and looking at painting classes. And then, on the long ride home, I didn’t know whether to be upset at them or thankful, which kept me entertained for the 11 hours on the plane, as I came in and out of sleep and wondered if I could just hug my mom tight enough to make it all go away.
We were extremely lucky (knock on wood): My mom survived.
My mom had fought it from the very beginning, when the doctor couldn’t find it and she assured him something was there, that it didn’t feel like her. And when nothing showed in the mammogram, she kept telling the doctor, that something was there…and she had been right. And not unfortunately – my mom’s fighting spirit and determination saved her life, and paved the road to many other family members and friends to do more self-exams, ask the right questions and never apologize for pursuing their own best health. My mom had been the first one to have it, but by all means, not the last.
Today, I’m so honored to be joining My Judy the Foodie and Bake it Happen in Bananas for Boobies. Amazing sisters Shari and Stacy are taking a stance and raising funds for Breast Cancer Research, honoring the memory of their mom, who would have turned 71 this month. Judy’s recipes are the inspiration for Shari’s blogging and the foundation for many evenings and weekends around the table for both sisters’ families. This chocolate chip banana bread is one of Judy’s best, and let me tell you, even in the gluten free version, finger licking should not only be allowed but expected! And, with enough practice, you can get the batter ready in under 12 minutes! It’s that easy!
Here are a few tips for an amazing gluten free version:
- I used a big bowl and spoon to mix the batter. I did prior versions with a mixer, but I felt the batter collapsed and had a harder time raising in the oven.
- Though you can use your favorite gluten free all-purpose flour (just replace cup by cup), I had the best results with Glutino.
- Use an 8.5-inch loaf pan at the most, to have a tall, good-looking bread as the one pictured here.
- Fold in the sour cream mix, don’t beat it (again, trying to save some volume).
- And, finally, I used only 2 bananas versus 3 and a medium egg (not a large one) – I found that having less of the liquid ingredients really helped with the final gluten free product
And that’s pretty much it! Head on over to bananasforboobies.com to get the recipe and start baking. Every loaf of bread you share and post on Bake it Happen is a $1 donation to Breast Cancer Research – and you can win an Ipad too (more details at bananasforboobies.com). Also, make sure to stop by My Judy the Foodie to say hi to Shari if you can and congratulate both sisters on such an amazing endeavor!
PS: Mami, te quiero!