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Compromise in Kitchen Leads to Bonding Over Banana Bread

Competing recipes inspire two newlyweds to take a positive approach in sharing baking duties.

Marilyn and Chuck Turk whose banana bread compromise yielded positive results

“I sold my silver this weekend,” my daughter, Sharon, told me over the phone one day. “I never use it, so I figured why not get some extra money?”

What a good idea, I thought when I hung up. I’d had my own flatware collection since I was married. Mine was sterling silver, and I barely used it. Who couldn’t use some extra cash these days….

“I didn’t get as much as I wanted for it,” I told Sharon after I sold it. “But it’s better than nothing.”

“Oh, Mother!” she said. “I sold only a few silver-plated serving pieces, not my sterling! What were you thinking?”

I got a knot in my stomach. My assumption had been wrong. Now my sterling was lost forever.

A few days later I stopped at an estate sale. I lifted the lid of a small wooden chest and found it full of sterling silver flatware, in the exact pattern I got at my wedding 55 years ago. I made an offer and took it home.

Instead of my original service for 6, I now have service for 12, and the knowledge that it was meant just for me.


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Who knew that Chuck could bake? It came as a complete surprise to me that Christmas, our first together. We were newlyweds, married only since October. We didn’t have the easy familiarity of having spent decades together. Still, I thought we had the division of labor down. He manned the grill, I was in charge of the kitchen. The only thing I’d seen him make in there was his special spaghetti sauce.

When Chuck suggested that we bake goodies for the holidays to give to our new neighbors, I thought it was a great idea. I assumed I would be doing most of the work, which was fine by me. I love to bake. I went through my favorite recipes—chocolate drop cookies, pecan pie, spice cake with caramel icing and of course, my Hawaiian-style banana bread—and made a shopping list.

Chuck looked it over. “Make sure to get extra pecans and bananas,” he said. He liked to have more on hand for backup. I figured his years in the Air Force had taught him to be ultra-prepared.

“I’ve got it,” I said and went off to the grocery store.

That night I set out all the ingredients on the kitchen counter. I lined up my recipe cards too. Chuck walked in. “Looks like you’ve got everything ready,” he said, then proceeded to rummage through the cabinets.

“What are you looking for?” I asked. Didn’t I have everything?

“My cookbook. You know, the one with the rubber band around it,” he said. “I need my banana bread recipe.”

“Why? I’ve got mine,” I said, waving the recipe card, “the one I always make for my Sunday school class, with pineapple in it. Everybody loves it. You love it.”

“I know,” he said. “Go ahead and make yours. I’ll make mine.”

I stared at him. Chuck was great at a lot of things—fishing, golf, car repair, even taking out the trash without being reminded. But baking? I was the baker. The kitchen was my domain.

“The oven is really small,” I said. “We found that out at Thanksgiving, remember?”

“No problem,” he said. “You do yours first, then I’ll do mine. We’ll just take turns.”

Now this was a second marriage for both of us. Chuck was a widower and I’d been divorced for a long time. I wanted to do the right thing here. I thought of the Bible reading at our wedding, the passage that says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things.” Letting Chuck bake wasn’t really such a big deal, was it?

The oven was small but we did have a lot of counter space. We each set to work. I put my mini loaves of banana bread in the oven. When they were done, Chuck baked his. The other things—the cookies, spice cake and pecan pie—we made together.

Our neighbors loved the homemade goodies. Chuck and I each still prefer our own version of banana bread, but we’ve found a great recipe for happiness in our marriage. Love shares all things, including the holiday baking.

Try a home taste test to see which banana bread recipe you like better—Marilyn’s or Chuck’s.

Download your FREE ebook, Rediscover the Power of Positive Thinking, with Norman Vincent Peale.

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