I loved a lot of things about Camp Big Canoe, but one of the best parts was the camp songs. I was painfully shy as a kid, and this was one of the few places I was so sure that amidst all the tuneless chaos and uncoordinated flailing of lanky sunburned limbs, no one was paying attention to me, and was therefore willing to throw myself wholeheartedly into the fray.
Upon arrival home, my siblings and I were naturally loath to give up all that gleeful shouting, and continued to sing our favourites around the house. Any time of day or night was good, but dinner time was best.
MICHAEL MICHAEL IF YOU’RE ABLE
GET YOUR ELBOWS OFF THE TABLE
THIS IS NOT A HORSE’S STABLE
BUT A FIRST CLASS DINING TABLE
SAY YOUR SORRY
we’d holler at my father, who’d then be expected to stand on his chair, profusely apologize, and sing us a camp song of his own. I don’t ever remember him obliging.
Eventually school started up again and with that endless monotony of being told where to sit and what to do, our glorious camp songs (and the liberated abandon they inspired) got shelved for another year.
My most favourite camp song was the banana song. It started with a call and response – all you had to do to get it going was yell B-A-N-A-N-A-S! That went on a round or two, and then there was a kind of chorus that went go bananas, go go bananas where you’d whip your arms and legs around in every possible direction. It ended with a vaguely choreographed mimicking of the ways to peel a banana, and a mild gyrating of the hips that might have been considered lewd back in the 1940s.
We weren’t the only kids to go home and torture our parents with camp songs, and one year someone’s prudish parents complained to the camp about the banana song. We arrived the next summer to discover that the ending had been officially changed and from then on we sang an appropriately G-rated version. Which naturally sucked the fun out of the whole thing.
It’s been many a year since I roared at my father to get his elbows off the table, but on lazy August evenings when the setting sun filters just right through the trees and the students barbequing on the Aachener Weiher cloud the air with the smell of campfires, an 11-year-old voice in my head can’t help but shout B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
For her, I’m making banana muffins whose magnitude of deliciousness borders on erotic, and as I eat them the groans of pleasure that escape from my lips will seep horror into the hearts of anal-retentive camp parents the world over. (In fact, I already practically had an orgasm licking the batter out of the mixing bowl.)
Makes 6 large / 12 small muffins
150g vegan baking chocolate chopped into chunks
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup of vegan butter, melted
1 cup of raw cane sugar
1 tbsp egg replacer dissolved in 2 tbsp water
splash of milk alternative (I used rice milk)
1 1/2 cups of spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup of spelt flour
1/4 cup of sucanat
2 tbsp. vegan butter, chilled
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°F). In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a smaller bowl, stir melted butter into mashed bananas. Add sugar, milk alternative and egg replacer, blending until smooth. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chunks.
2. To make the crumble topping, combine sugar and flour together in a shallow dish. Cut in the chilled butter until a crumbly mixture forms.
3. Spoon the batter into a greased muffin tray, sprinkling crumble topping over each muffin. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Between bites of gooey-chocolatey-deliciousness, dance around the kitchen and unleash your inner joy.