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Rebecca vs. Rebekah

April 17, 2022

Banana Bread: the Perfect Accompaniment for Hitting the Books


Photo by Natali Brito

   As a self-proclaimed banana bread aficionado, I know making homemade banana bread may seem daunting at first–especially for busy, dedicated students who have a plethora of AICE/AP exams to study for and worry about: the adjustment of added sweetener amounts based on the ripeness of the bananas, the cooking times that (often) exceed an hour, and the complications of making food from scratch that make up the banana bread-making process can understandably add to the stress.

   But for those studious people who also need to satisfy their sweet tooth, banana bread is the prime candidate. One of the best parts of making and eating banana bread is that you can’t buy it pre-made; the star of the recipe (bananas) can not be found in powder form in a cardboard box on a supermarket shelf. Sure, the trusty Betty Crocker and Ghirardelli boxes of brownie mix might be quick, easy, dependable, and hard to mess up. But where’s the fun in that?   

   Amidst the tedious hours of memorizing formulas, running through practice questions, and reviewing old material, adding another orderly, boring process to the mix won’t help. To truly ease your mind of some exam-induced stress, you need to distract yourself by fully immersing yourself in an external activity. So while at first glance that from-scratch banana bread recipe might elicit a groan, just think about your mind. No matter how delicious the brownies are, the baking process won’t help you alleviate stress as much as the banana bread-baking process will: as junior Emma Schenker puts it, “I’d rather bake banana bread because it’s more interesting, but I’d rather eat brownies.”

   Baking can be a fun, relaxing, and–most importantly– rewarding way to destress during this testing season. Banana bread may take a little more time and effort than brownies, but the end result makes it all worth it, I promise. A loaf of banana bread is just more interesting and slightly more sophisticated than a brownie–and it makes the perfect study snack. Junior Matthew Castillo adds, “If I’m studying, I would want banana bread, because it’s light… It’s also just nicer on the palate: if you’re eating a brownie you want to enjoy it with ice cream or something and relish it, but if you’re studying, you’re splitting your focus, so banana bread is a better study snack. It’s also less messy.” 

   Regardless of your preference, though, a sweet treat here and there may be necessary in order to help you keep your engine running during testing season, which is stressful as is: there’s no time to be stressing about eating a little sugar or feeling like you’re ‘wasting time’ by taking breaks to do what you enjoy, whether that be baking, reading, or exercising. Without a balance, your productivity and the effectiveness of your studying will be for naught, so the bottom line is: don’t forget to treat yourself!

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Boosting Your Brain With Brownies


Photo by Natali Brito

   Neck aching and hand cramping, you can’t help but let out a loud yawn at the content-packed page before you. Along with it comes tears flooding your eyes, the eyes that you could barely keep open as you flipped through your dense textbook in an attempt to study. When the aroma of freshly baked brownies floats into your study area, your mind suddenly wakes up with a new energy, exactly what you needed from the start of your session.

   While they may sound insignificant, snack breaks like these play a super important role when it comes to testing season, perhaps the most stressful time of the school year. For some people, increasing anxiety means skipping meals for the good of their scores, but trust me, it’s a lose-lose situation. As Senior Julian Villarta, President of the Culinary Club, explains, “it’s always important to give yourself breaks because you’ll study more efficiently… it’s really hard to think straight on an empty stomach.”

   So don’t think of food as a setback to your goal! Not only do snacks keep you physically healthy during an exhausting time, but you can even use them as motivation before testing. And what better encouragement than some warm, fudgy brownies?

   Brownies, the classic dessert, are an automatic daymaker with its crispy crust, soft insides, and all its chocolatey goodness. Just thinking about it already brings me joy, but plain brownies aren’t where the fun stops. Junior Macarena Morales, who’s found herself exploring ways to de-stress amidst her AP- and AICE-packed schedule, points out that “you can pair [brownies] with so many other stuff like milk and ice cream,” while banana bread isn’t that versatile.

   Sure, some people consider these combinations (or even the brownies alone) too sugary in comparison to the balanced sweetness of banana bread, but don’t feel guilty about that now! There’s already enough to worry about this testing season, and adding this to the list only puts more pressure on you. Like Junior and high achiever Chelsea Ugwuozor says, “The right food/snacks always manages to cheer [you] up and it helps take [your] mind away from all the stress going on around [you].” Remember, you’re taking a break, and breaks should be free of any worry.

   Of course, you don’t have to go too crazy with your little snack break. After all, brownies are known for being simple treats that are easy to make, especially if you have a box mix. Banana bread, on the other hand, takes more time and effort to prepare. The reality is, though, why waste time for the same result? With baking brownies, at least you can guarantee that you’re on track in your study schedule.

   So whether it be with brownies, banana bread, or something else, don’t forget to take care of yourself this testing season! Treat yourself with snacks during study breaks, and remember to eat a filling breakfast on your testing day. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, so it’s important to keep your stomach full for your own success and to finish the year off strong!

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