I went to Countdown the other day with my Mum and as we were walking out of the check outs I saw a familiar face. I shouted out her name across a couple of counters like she was a best friend who I hadn’t seen in a month or so. I asked her how the ball she went to last night was. It was only when it took her a couple of seconds for her to recognize me did I realise that the familiarity I thought I felt was purely because of her presence on social media. I had seen her life fold out via countless photos and tags. I felt like I had been there every step of the way. I knew where she had been and what she had been doing. Which is really kind of creepy.
The same thing happened this morning when I bumped into my ex’s sister’s friend while on a morning walk. We hadn’t spoken in well over a year and a half but I asked her how her trip overseas had been like I had seen her just the other week. I knew what she had been up to purely because I follow her on instagram.
I am just going to put it out there and say that I think this is rather cool. I know some might say ugh social media is causing us to be anti-social hermits and reducing our interpersonal skills to zilch. But I beg to differ. You feel connected with people when you can’t be connected in person. At least I had something to raise in conversation when I saw these long lost friends and I think seeing peoples lives scroll by does in fact act as a bit of social aid. But on the other hand do we really want every detail of our lives plastered all over the place for the world to see?
My flatmate and I got onto talking about sharing our lives on Facebook. How there are just some personal events that we don’t and shouldn’t blurt out to the world right away. I’ve had a few discussions with photographers about ‘unplugged’ weddings where guests are forbidden from sharing photos online before the couple do. I think it is wonderful that people want to share good news but part of me also feels like it should be kept close for a moment. Just keeping it to those close to you keeps the news special and somewhat sacred. Facebook kind of bastardises most of it (don’t even get me started on #RIP).
I don’t do Facebook relationship statuses anymore. I guess unless I got engaged or something, but I doubt be happening any time soon (sorry Nana). Those close to me know that if a person is talked about extensively in one of these posts they mean something special to me. So if you haven’t guessed by now, my favourite people are Jack, Alix and Alex. The Facebook world doesn’t need to know who I’m hanging out with at all times (ugh I so hate photos of tables of people out for dinner). If you really do want to know what I am doing, it is probably hanging out with Alix, eating food and watching hilarious tv shows. Where is the allure and mystery if it is all plastered all over Facebook?
I think I mentioned this a few months ago but I think that we need to remember to enjoy the moments as they happen, not spend half the time concerned about the spelling in our status or how much of a tilt shift to add on Instagram because then we miss the bits worth sharing later.
I was out at Friday drinks last night and my Antipodes sparkling water was served in a mason jar. I managed to resist the urge to Instagram about it. I was quite impressed with myself. I kept my phone in my bag 96% of the time and I had a great time talking to the people who were with me right then and there. Most of the groups’ phones were away and when a question we didn’t know the answer to cropped up we resisted the urge to ask the group for fear the phones would be brought out to Google said query and ruin the vibe.
I really like having my phone away at social gatherings. It really annoys me when I’m at say dinner and everyone has their phone sitting next to their cutlery like it’s a vital part of the dinner eating process. A) The amount of bacteria on your phone is just nasty. Get that thing off the eating surface now. And B) By having your phone on the table you are saying that the people who make contact with you via that phone are more important than the people who have taken the time out to be with you in person.
So I think there is this fine balance of sharing your lives enough so people feel included and connected with you even if they are far away and being too connected at all times.
I couldn’t come up with a clever segue to move into how I came to making this loaf. In all honesty I was flicking through the Bluebells Cakery Cookbook and saw the recipe. I had everything it needed to I thought why not. My flat mates were complaining about the abundance of bananas in the freezer anyway.
A lot of people say they don’t bake because things always go wrong for them. Most of this is due to lack of practice but on the odd occasion it is because the forces that be are against you. This would be a perfect example of that. The butter didn’t really want to cream properly. The eggs were too old so didn’t fluff up when I beat them in. The butter wasn’t emulsified so it became a split mess. It was a hideous mixture. I ended up just throwing in a few extra chocolate buttons and hoping for the best. It actually turned out to be delicious. I imagine the texture would be somewhat better if it had actually behaved itself. But don’t be put off, I am sure it will work for you; it was just clearly my time to have a spectacular failure.
The best thing about this is that it is a loaf. Loaves are healthy. This is not a cake shape so therefore is not a sometimes food. You can eat as much of it as you want without the guilt...
Banana and Chocolate Loaf
Makes 1 loaf
Adapted from the Bluebells Cakery Cookbook by Karla Goodwin
150g butter, softened
¾ cup soft brown sugar
3 large fresh eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla or ½ teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
¼ cup yoghurt
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 small, ripe bananas, mashed
¾ cup chocolate buttons
¼ cup caster sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a load tin with baking paper.
Cream together the butter, brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until the mixture becomes voluminous. Slowly mix in the sour cream.
Sieve in the flour, first lot of cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Gently fold into the mixture. Add in the mashed banana and chocolate buttons and fold into the batter.
Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin. If you feel like you have too much in the tin, remove a couple of spoonfuls and make mini loaves or muffins. Mix together the caster sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle this over the top of the loaf.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean of batter (but probably covered in melted chocolate).
Leave to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the tin. I recommend eating straight away while it is still hot and the chocolate is all gooey.