Why #Procrastibaking Is The Best Food Trend Of 2018
Have you ever arranged a sock drawer twice before doing taxes? Marie Kondo’d not just your closet but your entire life before working on your boss’s presentation for tomorrow? Given Solo a lengthy review on Rotten Tomatoes when you should have been doing your kid’s Easter Island diorama for show and tell? If your answer to one or all of these things is yes, then you’ve been at it again. That delicious time suck called procrastination. There are so many of us doing it, we could populate a nation. Do we ever get to do the thing we set out to do in the first place—yes, but only after so many wasted hours. Which is where procrastibaking comes in. The love child of procrastination and baking, procrastibaking has you wasting those same hours, but you actually have something to show for it: a pie, a plate of cookies, a tray of muffins, or—if the ghost of Julia Child loves you— a cake.
As a master procrastinator—but not a baker—I decided to put both to the test. Yes, I procrastibaked while finishing this article. I asked my cousin Nana, a great food critic and foodie, for some recipes, and, after assessing my lack of baking skills, settled on the Banana Crumble—a simple enough number that involves bananas, butter, flour, sugar and oats.
In between writing these paragraphs, I’ve already peeled the bananas and measured and portioned all the ingredients—the philosophy being that both baking and procrastinating are incremental affairs, and that as I finish small nuggets of my work, I must also be finishing a step in my baking.
Procrastibaking has been around for quite some time now but we’ve only just given it a name this year. Among its widely-acknowledged benefits is the way it allows the mind to comfort us when we know that we should be working but aren’t.
I mean, who says we aren’t being productive when we can caramelize sugar and pour bananas straight into the gooey pan until the cubes of fruit absorb all that goodness? It makes me feel like I’m good at something, even while I’m shirking my work.
Procrastibaking means many things to many people, but as a writer, what it gives me is a feeling not unlike yoga or exercise—it’s a moment of mindfulness. I’m actually working with my hands, and being in the moment; if my mind or heart weren’t in it, I’d have burned or cut myself some thirty minutes ago. But I’m presently engaged. Who cares about smelling the roses when I can smell all that caramelized sugar?
If you asked me in all honesty what gives me a sense of creative flow, it wouldn’t be meditating on a hill or looking out into a vast ocean. Very simply, it would be making a streusel. Nothing puts me in a state of wild (though peaceful) creativity quite like making a streusel. Tossing together flour, oats and sugar with a pinch of salt and a cup of butter? Makes me want to write a poem about the girl who bullied me in high school. And then finish this article.
As I wait for the crumble to come out of the oven, I feel a sense of well-being. The house smells like cooked bananas, sugar and toasted crust. I feel useful and skilled, and the baking smells remind me of the baking smells of my childhood. My mom used to bake us apple pies, but to a businesswoman like her, baking was the real work and business was the procrastination. (procrastibusiness?).Of course we didn’t have Instagram then, so my mom never felt any pressure to make the pie look good, or to take pictures in between steps as proof of baking.
This, of course, would be a good time to tell you that procrastibaking is also eminently Instagrammable—it even has its own hashtag. Visually, this beats all other forms of procrastination; I mean, would we take pictures of ourselves watching Netflix and post them on instagram? I’d like to elaborate more on this but the oven timer just dinged. There. Finished the article and baked a cake.
Are you feeling the dull dread of work you have to do as the weekend draws to a sad close? Have you done nothing on your to-do list? Bring out the butter, the whisk and the sugar. You got this.
By Chef Jill Sandique
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Pinch of salt
- 5 to 6 medium bananas, preferably saba cultivar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons butter
1. In a medium saucepan, put together light brown sugar, water and salt. Place pan over high heat and bring mixture to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, peel and slice bananas into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Set aside briefly.
3. When sugar is completely dissolved and syrup becomes slightly syrupy, lower heat to medium. Add sliced bananas and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes or until bananas are done, and syrup turns into a golden, amber color.
4. Remove pan from heat and add the butter. Stir to combine then cool completely.
5. Transfer cooled mixture into prepared oven-proof containers, preferably made of glass, porcelain or any oven-proof dish. Set aside until ready to serve.
6. When ready to serve, top bananas in syrup with streusel topping (recipe below). Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 25 to 35 minutes until the streusel becomes golden brown.
7. Serve banana crumble immediately with ice cream or whipped cream.
- 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup rolled or instant oats
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup butter
In a bowl, toss together flour and oats. Add brown sugar and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Chill slightly before using.