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  • Kathleen Cassen Mickelson

Food for What Ails Me

It’s a banana bread kind of week. I’m not just talking about using up bananas that are turning brown on my kitchen counter. I’m talking about baking a bread that stirs up memories, that scents the kitchen on a day when I’m feeling a little crummy, that makes breakfasts easy for a few days. I’m talking about banana bread as self-care.

It’s been more than three weeks since I came down with a virus that flattened me for a week, made me lose my voice for three days, lingers still in my chest, and has zapped my energy. While I’m no longer coughing and sniffling and generating snot at a fantastic rate, this lingering malaise has not entirely loosened its grip. My ability to bounce out of bed in the morning has left me. Pfft. Gone. It takes until mid-morning before I feel like myself, before I actually want to move past my own living room. I don’t even want to walk the dog, which is okay since she hasn’t wanted to go anywhere either.


But this isn’t me.


The self I’m used to delights at bouncing out of bed, pulling on yoga pants and walking shoes and heading out the door into the early morning. That self gets energized with each morning walk, comes home and dives right into whatever needs to be done that day. I can’t remember the last time it took me this long to recover from a stupid virus.

I’ve had gallons of green tea with ginger. Been taking my vitamins. Gone to bed earlier than usual. Forced myself outside because fresh air is a good thing. Made myself go do things with other people because being social is also a good and healthy thing. But I’m still recovering. And feeling just a smidge impatient with all this. Wondering what it’s going to take to feel like myself again.


That’s where banana bread comes in. You know how there are certain things that make you feel taken care of? That’s what this is. A nice, warm, sweet loaf of goodness that shoves aside whatever’s not going quite right. This is the stuff my dad loved, that my daughter still loves, that is like a hug from my own kitchen. 


Who knew rotting bananas had so much power? The people who developed the first banana bread recipe, that’s who. And I thank whoever that was.


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