How to Impress the Aunties

I was born into one of those blessed homes where the lady of the house (a.k.a. my mommy) is a power-machine, cooking, cleaning, sewing, painting, and all those other lovely things a perfect woman is supposed to do. Now the down side of growing up a-midst bundles of delicious food, custom-made Eid clothes,  and an active, bustling family, is that everyone expects you to be a product of that household. Which may be reasonable, but it’s a little difficult when you’ve got a standard to live up to that’s as high as the clouds.

So when the aunties come over – the family friends, the friends of friends, the neighbors, the aging socialites of yesteryear – they ask in that coy little tone, “What has Zaynab baiti made for us today?” Don’t let the smiles fool you. They’re not being friendly.

You see, inside each auntie is a 20x zoom lens, better than any Canon has every made. The reason your lovely auntie wears foundation is to cover all her cyber-machinery and the lipsticked lips always smile at you so the camera can zoom straight at you. And it X-rays you, and then the dining table/tea trolley, before zooming back to you. And God forbid you have not cooked anything! You can see their optical zoom click-clicking as the words come out of her mouth, “Achaaa, you only set the table!” You fake a smile, trying to look cute, maybe even a little innocent.

To stay socially correct, the auntie must now supply an excuse. Thus the excuses start, and if she’s clever, she’ll roll it into a conversation with your mother, thus sidelining you completely. All this while simultaneously filing away your failure in her head. “Aaj kal to you know, the children are so busy with all their studies. My little one, he’s always running around. Mama I have to do this, I have to do that. I just say okay, okay. I let them do what they want.” [insert the emphatic accent here] “It’s alright beta, there’ll be plenty of time in the kitchen after you get married.” Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle.

And thus, I am here! To teach you how to whip up a fun little dessert that’ll blow their minds, excuse my French. Let the fun begin!

Banana Cream Bites

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of your favorite sponge cake. I would recommend one that’s vanilla flavored. Pound cake works too.
  • 3 bananas
  • 1.5 packets of cream
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar (brown sugar tastes lovely!)

Method:

  1. Slice up the bananas into medium-thin slices. Keep in mind that you want them to look nice. You’ll be stacking them up against each other, so easy with the knife. You want them to be firm and stackable, not mushy. I messed up, and so mine are mushy in the pictures above.
  2. Toss the sliced bananas in a pot with all the cream and put it on medium heat. You want the cream to slowly melt. Try to stir as little as possible.
  3. Start pouring in the sugar, and start stirring while you do this, being careful not to break the banana slices. See why I was telling you to keep em nice and firm?
  4. When the cream thickens, take the pot off heat, and put it to the side.
  5. Slide up the sponge cake. Place all the slices in an over dish.
  6. Carefully layer the banana-cream mix onto each slice. Seee, this is why the bananas should be pretty!
  7. Sprinkle a little sugar over the top, about 2-3 pinches, and pop em into the oven at 220 degrees for 12 minutes. MAKE SURE YOU PRE-HEAT THE OVEN! I always forget to do that.

You’re done! Serve the bites with a dollop of your favorite ice cream on the side. I love vanilla ice cream, and you might too!

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