Monkey Bread

Elizabeth - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on March 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, pleasure

I cannot say it in any simpler way than this: I believe in Monkey Bread.

But what is Monkey Bread? One word: Tradition.

(Actually, Monkey Bread is a dessert dish made of pieces of bread covered in a cinnamon sugar sauce.)

Allow me to summarize. About 17 years ago, my older sister Claire came home with a recipe called “Monkey Bread.” She decided to save it for Christmas, a time when my whole family celebrates the birthday of Jesus Christ by eating enough food to feed China. Claire’s birthday is on Christmas Eve and we all decided that it would be extra special to make the recipe then, together as a family.

Although it’s extremely entertaining, Monkey Bread takes time and patience to complete. My sisters and I split up and each of us does a certain job: Claire cuts up the dough, I cover the dough in cinnamon sugar, and Jamie makes the sauce. We put everything together wait almost 30 minutes for it to cook, a difficult task for the Najim family. Over time, something new is added to the tradition. About 10 years ago, my mother bought the three of us red antlers which we now wear when preparing Monkey Bread. In every year that the sauce was incredible, Jamie was always wearing a certain shirt, a simple t-shirt from college. She now wears it every year to ensure good luck.

This uplifting tradition has lasted almost 18 years, yet we’ve run into many problems. My sisters are both married and busy. Jamie now lives in London and has missed a few Christmas breaks. Claire just had her first baby, and needs to spend Christmas with her in-laws, far from my family. Although my family and I still make Monkey Bread every year, it’s just not the same if not everybody is present.

To be honest, this tradition is more special than I can even fathom. Nothing makes me happier than to spend precious moments with my family, a group of people that I rarely see anymore. I learn many valuable lessons from my family when making Monkey Bread. We tell stories, work like a team, lend advice, and laugh until we cry. I learned how to be especially patient just from waiting for the Monkey Bread to finish baking.

But most importantly, I have learned that love is forever strong. No matter how angry or sad I get, I always think of this tradition and how lucky I am to have experienced it, and to continue experiencing it. Monkey Bread gathers my family and me together while helping us to embrace our love and care for each other. I wouldn’t be the person I am without them. Because of Monkey Bread, I have grown strong and thankful for the chance to love and be loved.

Who could have thought that a recipe for a dessert dish would be so powerful? This I believe.