Persimmon Bread for Your Terrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Day

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

-Fuyu and Cinnamon persimmons, when hard, are the best for this recipe.-

"Chapter 4?" I thought.

And then the panic set it.

"Please don't tell me I..." I reached into my bag and grabbed out my notebook. I funbeled through the unorganized mess of handouts and papers creating a snow storm of white paper on my desk and eventually pulled out my syllabus. I read the day's assignments:

10/26 Teaching Strategies
"Remedial Writing Courses" Rose (SacCT)
"Writing and Reading as Collaborative Social Acts" Bruffee (SacCT)
Teaching Developmental Writing - Chapter 4

"Chapter 4? No. No, no, no... I read chapter 14!" My inner voice was now shrieking with such terror you'd think Norman Bates was plunging a knife into it. The class had read chapter 13 last week and in my exhaustion I misread the syllabus.

Then, like a bomb went off in my head, I realized what this meant. "I wrote my paper on the wrong chapter."

My body shuddered. The first domino in a long line had been flicked over and now my emotional and mental barrier began to reel apart. Tears welled and my I felt myself hyperventilating. I immediately crammed it all back down into the pit of my stomach making it feel dull and shocked like it had been sucker punched with a brass knuckled fist. I was going to have to try and hold back a total breakdown right then in the middle of class in front of nineteen of my peers for the next 75 minutes while simultaneously acting like a coherent human being making salient observations about the two correct readings I did finish.

I felt hollow, like a porcelain doll containing an maelstrom whose turbulent winds would at any second crack and shatter me. I noticed through my blurry vision that everyone began to move into small groups. I lifted my desk and did the same, my physical body and mind in some ambulatory fugue state. Moving without awareness, my body was powered by a sense of utter defeat.

"Are you okay?" asked my classmate, Manpreet. She was one of the people in my class who I admired; charming and intelligent, one of those naturally effervescent people who always seems to have the right words. Yet at the moment these were not the words I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear the words "chapter 14". "Are you okay?" simply pointed out a hole in the emotional brick wall I was trying to lay.

"No." I breathed. At that instant my porcelain shield cracked. "No. I'm not. I wrote on the wrong chapter. I wrote on chapter 14, and not chapter 4. I've already cut way back on all my side jobs and other sources of income and from that have willingly taken a pay cut just to try and keep up with class this semester and after that I still make a giant mess of things?! I don't do that kind of thing. I never make mistakes like these. I can't." My breathing became erratic and my voice pitched high with panic.

"It's okay. Don't freak. Someone else did the same thing last week," her eyes caught me like a snake charmer's pipe.

"Wha... what? Really?" I stuttered.

"Yes. Just talk to the professor. It'll be okay," she said in a tone so clam that it I could only assume it was a universal and unquestionable truth.

I paused, then asked, "Is anyone else feeling seriously against the wall this semester? I'm barely keeping up."

"Yes," Manpreet and the other people in our small group pronounced in unison.

After class I went up to the professor and explained my situation. After an hour and some joking the storm had abated. Now calm I was able to articulately explain my innocent mishap.

-Unlike my homework, this bread is foolproof.-

"Don't worry," said my professor, "you can turn in the right one on Wednesday. But you know your paper was supposed to be on last week's discussions right?"


"So wait, you mean had I done chapter 4 I would have done the wrong one anyways?"

It's a little known fact that on October 26th at roughly 5:50 PM time stopped for one second. I know. I felt it. Because when time stops, even for one second, it feels like years.

One no-second later time resumed, "Oh God, I did all of the responses wrong then? I did them all on the current week's reading and not the previous!" The maelstrom returned.

"No, just the last one or two. But don't worry. I only took about half a point and I noted it on the one I'll return to you next. The point is you were still thinking about the texts and engaging them and that was what was most important." She smiled at me and then turned to gather her things and was on her way out.

I went home defeated. When I walked in the door I dropped my messenger bag to the floor and made my way to the kitchen. I pulled out the persimmon bread I made the day before. Apparently, the only thing I did do right that day. As I pulled back the cling wrap I breathed in deep, the air now made heavy and sweet.

I began to cut off a piece and smear it with butter. The bread was amazing though it wasn't going to fix any of the mistakes I made or ones I was still going to make. Food can't always do that. It did however fill my empty stomach a bit and calmed some of those clouds. I no longer felt like I would shatter. I took another bite of bread letting my tongue feel out the textures of the dense bread, nibby pumpkin seeds, and chewy cranberries. I let it taste the spike of ginger, the coy cardamom, and the creamy waft of vanilla. I slumped on the couch and exhaled.

"Damn good bread," I sighed to myself.

-An in depth look at the cure for a shitty day.-

Persimmon Bread for Your Terrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Day
Makes one loaf, can be doubled for two - adapted from zucchini bread recipe at Simply Recipes

1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups grated fresh fuyu or cinnamon persimmon
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds (optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the grated persimmon and then the melted butter.

2. Sprinkle baking soda, salt, and spices over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour and fold in. Fold in the nuts and dried cranberries or raisins if using.

3. Divide the batter equally between 2 buttered 5 by 9 inch loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour (check for doneness at 50 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

-It may not fix mistakes, but it'll make you feel a lot less crappy about them.-


  1. Looks yummy. That's tonight baking to warm up the house in this wind storm!

    thank you, d. :-)

  2. Okay, I'm still definitely confused by everything that went on supposedly on that class schedule (so maybe we both would have made the same mistake, aiaiai!). I'm glad it wasn't as devastating as it could have been, though. (er... silver lining?) At least the persimmon bread looks delicious!

  3. This looks so wonderful - wish I had some for breakfast right now. As for the bad day - hang in there. Some days are like that - even in Australia...

  4. Oh my goodness, you really know how to tell a story. My throat got tight at one point. I've never tasted persimmon, but now you've got me curious and wanting to make that bread. Thx! :D

  5. You have a great way of describing food and feelings...The other day I spent 30 minutes trying to figure out the word I was looking for (temperamental). I'm assuming it doesn't take you that long or this entry would have taken days to write.

  6. Sometimes, no-good-very-bad days just happen. Try not to let it get you down too much, and definitely don't make it mean more than it does (a day's inattention). Stuff happens.

    (the bread looks *fabulous*)

    -A former college teacher.

  7. Garrett, that looks wonderful. We always had persimmon trees growing up, never knew what to do with them.

    I may have to round up some and give it a shot.

  8. I'm so sorry you had such a horrible day! I know what those are like too. Thank God for good food, eh? (and for knowing how to make good food) :)
    I hope things settle down for you and get better soon.

  9. You have such a talent for describing situations in such a way that your readers feel them too. Thank god for professors that are human. Enjoy your bread!

  10. Exciting recipe - I love persimmons, but never really know what to do with them. I tend to buy them and can only eat so many before they go soft. Now I have an outlet for persimmon creativity!

  11. Great photos - very enticing!

    Hang in there - school on top of work can be brutal, but you'll make it through.

  12. ~hug~ although hugs from strangers are definitely an invasion of privacy, I'm thinking one over the internet as a product of sympathy from your well written words and bad day hopefully won't be such a bad thing.

  13. Garrett, I'm so excited to get to know you. Especially because I LOVE your writing. What great story telling skills you have. You had my stomach flipping with anxiety as your classroom drama unfolded.

    I would call that a living anxiety dream.

    Good to know you have beautiful bread to comfort you in times like that. Thank god for food.


  14. Isn't it nice when we have something wonderful to come home to after a Terrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Day? I'd have to agree with you, now that I've made it, the persimmon bread is absolutely FABULOUS.

    I can't wait to work my way through the rest of your recipes (I'm a recent reader and have been drooling for a few weeks now). It's great to find a writer with such an engaging voice.

  15. jacquiJB - Thanks so much! And so glad you like the persimmon bread! =)

  16. That photo of the batter is gorgeous - the colors are really amazing. But, WOW! Your panic was palpable! I know that feeling... *shudder.* Hope it's a looooong time before you have that feeling again, if ever. Hang in there, semester's over in a few weeks, right?

  17. How nice to see persimmons being explored on the food blogs this year! You offer a down-homey recipe here, and your post about the dried persimmons was fascinating.

    I used to wait for the bus after school under the shade of a very old and gnarled persimmon tree, and as the days cooled and the leaves fell, I was caught by the beautiful color and fragrance as the fruits ripened. I think that is why orange has always been my favorite color.

    We used to have a big steamed persimmon pudding for Thanksgiving when I was growing up. It tasted really a lot like pumpkin pie, probably because my dad used those spices in it. I wish I had his recipe. He never wrote it down, and I took it so much for granted that I never watched him make it.


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