Monday Morning Loaf to Beholden
I vehemently dislike soliciting and accepting help from people—
This isn’t a perceived weakness issue like many people would assume it is for me. I don’t think needing help is a sign of weakness. We all come up against situations where you just can’t do it on your own. Maybe a car breaks down. Maybe a kid gets sick. Life happens and that’s really just a more pleasant way for saying sometimes shit gets out of your control. It took me a long time to learn to accept that I can’t reign over my day to day existence as an all-powerful, omniscient being. Heck even when I AM that being the occasional satellite would fall out of the sky suddenly killing my Sim in front of my eyes and I may not have saved the game in the last hour. Anyway the point is I know that we all need help sometimes.
That being said, when I do ask for help I am always quick to define the parameters by which I intend to repay this person. See the reason I hate asking for help is that I hate the feeling of being in someone’s debt. I hate that when you accept assistance from someone, especially for big ticket items, it comes with one or many strings attached. Invisible and often undefined strings that will be insisted aren’t there but you know what? They always are. I think it’s a rule of acquisition in fact. It might be a gift at the time but man oh man, when that person needs a favor in return that you initially can’t help with, you betcha they will bring up that “gift” again. I once made the mistake of thinking that one of my ex’s made a grand gesture for me and accepting it as such. He had just paid the cost of extending my plane ticket so I could stay an extra night since my classes were cancelled and joked that I had to clean his room in exchange. I found out in a nasty telephone conversation that what I’d interpreted as a joke was actually in his mind a verbal contract. It hurt on multiple levels—but mostly because it was a rare time that I actually took someone’s assistance/kindness without trying to give back. Never again have I felt comfortable with a boyfriend offering to do something grand for me and quite often, with one rare exception but there were other issues in that relationship, I’ve found that instinct was correct. There’s always some sort of expectation from men I date. And people wonder why I’m happier being single.
So typically when I ask for help I will always include in my request some form of repayment. I think I’ve asked for help from friends most often with the countless number of times I’ve had to move but I always, always send out that batsignal with a plate of cookies, pizza and/or beer attached. As it stands I have one person who I still never managed to connect with and it’s driving me crazy to think that I haven’t repaid the debt yet.
You might think “Olivia you don’t owe someone just because they carry a bag for you.” No, maybe not that one time, but there’s the risk of accumulated performance of this task and that DOES eventually add up. Trust me I know. After a while that friend who always takes a ride home is less attractive to hang out with because you get tired of always taking them home. Then you get invited out less and…yes it adds up. I dislike the idea of wearing out my welcome with requests for help so I try to minimize asking for unless it’s quite literally impossible for me to do on my own. That way when I have a genuine emergency, I haven’t cried wolf too many times.
I get extremely frustrated too when it’s a persistent unsolicited offer. I hate being asked repeatedly to allow someone to help me. When it comes to very simple things like luggage, and I am struggling under the weight of my decision to pack too many shoes, I will actually ask for help should I need it but I much prefer to ask than have it offered over and over again after I refuse over and over again. That repeated offer just ends up frustrating me and making me cranky. I don’t play those social contract games where you refuse out of politeness. I think that’s why I get so frustrated when someone will persist in offering—I feel like I’m not being taken at my word. I’ve always been someone who feels that my word really matters. If I say I’m going to do something I do my damndest to make sure that happens. This stems from my fear of ever letting someone down. Plus I have that impatience issue where I really, really hate taking the time to repeat myself when it’s not needed. I suffer from that pesky “I want to do it all”mania so for me time is extremely precious. Yes even those extra few minutes. Anyone who has had to use public transit should know that even the space of a minute can make a HUGE difference in the timing of your day.
Plus when it comes to things like rides or carrying heavy stuff—I like the exercise. I like the excuse to get an extra walk in. I want to do it. If I had my way I’d live in a city within a 1 mile of radius of everything I needed because then I could always just walk where I want to go. Heck 2 miles even. I’m an endorphin junkie and I get them from moving my body.
What I don’t like is the feeling of invisible strings hanging off my body, ready to be tugged upon at a moment’s notice. I really relish my freedom and I’m the sort of person who gets very uncomfortable when held too tightly. That concept of keeping your palm open and letting a butterfly choose to land, stay or leave has always been an exceptionally apt analogy of how I am. I just get squirmish otherwise. OF course the problem is that I’ll also run away if I feel like no one wants me around. But that’s another topic altogether and right now I’m getting hungry so without much further ado here’s a recipe I love to bake as a thank-you gift for friends. Quick morning loaves and muffins are often characterized as the homemaker’s choice and there’s a reason for that. A simple reason. They are incredibly simple and fast to make but still extremely delicious. This persimmon bread is actually a modified mango bread recipe that I updated for winter produce and played around with the flavors a bit. It’s also incredibly, delectably moist and delightful to bite into with some nice complex flavor from the persimmon. If you ever do get the rare opportunity to do me a big favor and I offer to bake for you, I highly recommend you ask for this.
Persimmon Sesame Bread
an Olivia Original
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup canola oil
- 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ packed cup light brown sugar
- 2 cups hachiya persimmon puree
- 1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 350F and prep a standard 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch bread loaf pan with parchment paper or lightly oil.
Peel, dice and puree your persimmons–make sure they are extra soft and ripe and this won’t be very difficult to do. Plus that’s when they have the most sweet flavor to impart.
In one bowl sift together the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl whisk the eggs lightly–add in the oils and stir. Mix in the persimmon puree.
Now pour the wet stuff over the dry stuff (muffin method!) and stir until the flour disappears but as always, lumps are O.K. Stir in the sesame seeds and scrape your batter into the pan.
Bake for 45 minutes and then check on the bread. The top may start to brown quite a bit. If this is the case cover with aluminum foil and bake another 45 minutes. If the top hasn’t browned yet, it will, so be sure to check and the second it starts to look a little over done, cover the top but be sure to cook this until a toothpick comes out clean. This is a very dense loaf so it needs the full 1.5 hour baking time.