My whole teen and adult life so far I have been pretty uninterested in drinking. Sure I'll do it every now and again but most of the time (and most of my friends) just cannot be bothered with the expense or the consequences of a weekly blow out. I’m not anti it, I am just too busy filling my weekend with all sorts of other activities that would be impaired if I was hungover. I have different values when it comes to money expenditure. I would rather save for something cool than to whittle my money away on nights I can’t even remember. I am a socialable and happy young woman without the need to drink to have fun.
I was at a team lunch the other day when the subject came up. For the first time ever I felt like the antisocial freak. Because I didn’t get ‘turpsed’ at least once a weekend I was the outsider. I apparently don’t have good stories because I don’t drink. I thought my stories from my overseas adventures using the money I didn’t spend drinking were pretty cool? No? Is that not a cool thing to do? Oh no they aren't because I'm not drinking there either? Oh and apparently because I decided to go to these places by myself I am also a loser and a loner.
So all of a sudden my perception of what was ‘normal’ had been shifted all based on the opinions of this small group. I start doubting myself as a person. Was I really missing out? Am I really actually lame? I have never really cared about being normal, I accepted my character quirks many moons ago but the whole ordeal still makes me feel pretty shit mainly because I thought these people were my friends.
I considered what I do in a week. I go to work. I contribute to this site. I write eatery reviews for here. I still contribute to my university's student publication Critic every week without fail. I bake cakes to fundraise and cakes to celebrate friends and colleagues. I meet up with friends, go to the gym morning and just because I felt like I wasn’t doing enough I have signed up to volunteer my time to help make freezer meals for parents of sick children. I get max 6 hours sleep a night because I cram all of that in. So are they saying getting drunk and watching endless tv series on hungover days spent in bed is a better use of my time?
I also get made fun on the regular for wearing bright coloured gym gear, liking cake too much, the sometimes forward things I wear, being single and for taking photos of food I enjoy. So pretty much everything I do is abnormal, weird and mockable according to the value systems held by some of these people.
I would also like to point out the hypocrisy of a single 30 year old male calling me a 23 year old tragic cat lady (I DONT EVEN LIKE CATS). So he's the socially acceptable bachelor and I am failing at fulfilling my only so called duty in life still seven years his junior? This makes me mad. So mad.
So I guess this is a post about bullying. I think it is important to be careful about the jokes you make. Sure some things may be funny the first time around when the joke was actually original and the wit was fresh but having to reuse old material is tiring and can have some lasting impact. Making fun of a person's life choice isn't cool or original, just because they don't conform to what you consider normal doesn't give you the right to judge or laugh at them. It needs to be remembered that not everyone victim to this is stubborn or confident enough to tell people that what they're doing isn't ok. Some personalities don't understand jokes and can take it to heart so you need to be careful. If you want to be surrounded by supportive and positive people in both your personal and professional life you need to in turn be one of those positive and supportive people to others.
My friend and I are currently baking and selling cakes to help out a colleague on the other side of the world. I don't have the money to just give but I do have the time (and the bulk baking ingredients) to turn something that I do anyway into a way to help a good cause. One of the treats I brought in were these feijoa and banana cakes swirled with cream cheese icing. I rummaged around the back of my friend's dad's workplace in the dark and rain to forage for these baby feijoas to use as decoration. All 30 of these treats sold bringing us another step closer to our goal!
Feijoa and Banana Cakes
125g butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 very ripe large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup feijoa flesh, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Cream cheese icing
150g cream cheese, room temperature
50g butter, room temperature
4-5 cups icing sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Hot water to loosen if need be
Baby feijoas to decorate
(I am the worst when it comes to icing measurements. Use these quantities for the cream cheese and butter and add as much icing sugar as it takes to make a fluffy and swirlable icing which is around about 4-5 cups. Add a splash of hot water to loosen the icing if need be. If making a single cake, halve this icing recipe).
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on bake and line one and a half muffin trays with paper cases. You could also line a 20cm high top cake tin if you are that way inclined.
Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale. Beat in the eggs one at a time and keep beating until voluminous. Sift in the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Mix until just combined. Gently stir in the mashed bananas and feijoas.
Scoop into your paper cases until they are only just over half full. Fill as many as you can, if using texan muffin pans you will probably only get 12 from this mix. Bake for 17-23 minutes until a skewer comes out clean but they cakes are still making that sizzling sound when you take them out. If making a large cake, bake for 35-40 minutes (check with a skewer).
Leave to fully cool before icing.
Cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in a cup of icing sugar and the juice of the lemon and beat on high. Gradually add the rest of the icing until you get a stiff but still spreadable icing. You wan't it to be quite fluffy. Add more lemon juice to taste if you wish.
Scoop a couple of tablespoons worth onto the cake and using a hot palette knife, swirl the icing into the desired fashion then place a baby feijoa on the top. Do this for the rest of them!