While Ann Suzuki-Hough has sold loaves of her island-famous banana bread as omiyage, it would be fair to say that baking cakes and cookies is Ann’s way of expressing gratitude and love. With the coronavirus crisis, baking also has become Ann’s way to stay connected, to reach out and let folks know she’s thinking of them.
Some of the people for whom Ann bakes were her mom’s good friends when Ann was a little girl, but these friends have become hers, too, over the years. Sally Takahama is one of them. When Mrs. Takahama mentioned that she’s afraid to go out now because of the coronavirus, Ann went to her kitchen after the phone call and whipped up a loaf of banana bread to drop off at Sally’s. Since the lockdown March 25, 2020, Ann has been baking twice a week. She has baked all kinds of cakes, banana bread, chocolate chip cookies – this week, cornbread – and delivered them to the Oshimas, Joe & Priscilla Felipe, Auntie Fran Kamali, Claude Huerta, Nat Ropa.
She will be baking loaves of banana bread and shipping them sometime soon to her friend, registered nurse, Karen Shigaki, to share with fellow nurses at Palimomi Hospital in Honolulu, who work on the floor dubbed the Coronavirus floor, so named for the growing numbers of patients infected with COVID-19.
Ann said she likes to improvise, baking whatever she has on hand. The Felipes gave her a bunch of apples once, so she made apple-banana-walnut cake. Before the pandemic forced kids indoors and shifted schoolwork online, Ann would bake various cookies – almond, chocolate chip, peanut butter – for Tower Vergara, who has tutored her son Aiden. Baking treats for Tower was Ann’s way of saying thanks.