Bitterness, Blame, and Banana Bread

Banana bread

Some ingredients, like lemons, are naturally bitter. That’s why we balance them with something that’s naturally sweet. The same principle applies to bitterness, like the time when my sister-in-law bit my son.

When my son was two, he was a biter. One day he bit my sister-in-law, and she bit him back! I watched in horror, then I said nothing. Not a word. I was shocked, angry, and paralyzed in fear.

That day, my fear of causing an argument was stronger than protecting my son. I hate that about myself. My remembering this doesn’t hurt her, or my son, but it hurts me because:

Each time we recall an angry memory, the anger starts the same bio-chemical reactions with the same intensity even if it was an incident from long ago.

Why Does Bitterness Remain?

When I look back on this, I’m still so disgusted. Why can’t I let this go?

The Serenity Prayer is one of my favorite recovery tools. If I look at this problem using the Serenity Prayer, I see I’m struggling to accept what happened.

This simple answer often causes me big problems. When I fight against reality, I lose my serenity. I can’t change the past. I didn’t know how to stand up to anyone, and I didn’t know how to make my son quit bitting. It’s time to accept that what happened, happened – even if I didn’t want it to.

If it happened today, I would at least have the courage to ask someone to help me stand up to my adorable bitter and my boundary-busting sister-in-law. I also would be wise enough to know that none of that behavior works for me. I would handle it differently.

Recovery tools offer a sweet offset to balance out my bitter memories, just like over-ripe bananas balance out the lemon’s bitter juice. The result is a brightness of flavors that can’t be achieved alone.

Banana Bread


  • ¼ cup (1 stick) of melted butter
  • 3 over-ripe bananas
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved into a tablespoon of water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 cups tropical trail mix, chopped

This is my Grandma’s banana bread recipe with a fresh twist. First, melt butter in a mixing bowl. While the butter cools, zest the lemon.

Next, cut lemon in half, and squeeze half of the juice into the butter. Then add the sugar, bananas, lemon zest, flavorings and salt. Mix on medium until well combined. Add baking soda, egg, and flour. Mix again on medium.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease loaf pan with coconut oil and dust with sugar.  Pour batter into the pan.

Bake for 45 minutes. The bread will start to crack when done. You can also check for doneness by inserting a toothpick. It should come out clean – not goopy.

Want more of Pam’s delicious recipes seasoned with recovery tools? Check out our cookbook, the Codependent in The Kitchen.