Once again I have had to make banana bread because no one ate the bananas. Sigh. So, in order to make this simply fabulous, I have decided to write about it – like a baking blogger. That’s right, you know what I’m talking about – a post full of sexy, intriguing photos of measuring cups and leavening agents, awash with references to childhood and sunsets and past romances. I warn you though, none of my pictures will be sexy or intriguing at all. Why, they may even make you say “eeew, banana bread is gross!” I also warn you, the story is complete bullshit. The recipe, however, is totally real. I don’t remember where I got the it from, I have it scrawled in a notebook otherwise I would link to it, but alas, I cannot. I don’t use walnuts cause the child doesn’t like them and I’m allergic. There’s a surprise! Oh, and it got a little over-done because I was wrapping Christmas presents and ignored the oven beeping at me repeatedly.
I hope I don’t offend any baking bloggers who may come across this (although I suspect that won’t happen because they won’t see this) because I like their recipes and use them all the time. I’m also not implying that all of these cooking blogs are like this, but a lot of them are and you know it’s true. I picture that one or two people might get their panties in a bunch and then my IP address will end up on some sort of virtual blogger wall like a bad check in a bodega. Could you imagine if that could happen? Do you think it does? That’s pretty crazy. Oh well, enough silliness, here we go…
Bethany’s Banana Bread
I was raised on a commune in Maine in the distant past, yet it was only just yesterday. My mother was writer and poet. She was free spirit who taught my many brothers and sisters the arts of macrame and yarn spinning. Every Sunday morning, while the children ran barefoot through the fields in the sunrise, she would be back with the elders of our extended family baking banana bread and singing folk songs. The smell of those fresh loaves coming out of the oven would call the children back home where we would enjoy those warm slices with goat’s milk and organic peanut butter. We thought we would be innocent children forever.
By the time I was fifteen, most of the people in the commune had gotten jobs in the real world, working for “the man”. Mother had moved us to Greenwich Village and worked in a used book store. She taught me how to bake banana bread and every Sunday I would arise with the bright sun to create this wonderful pain aux bananes.
Mother now got her produce from a fruit stand on the corner rather than from the small market in town. This new store was owned by an exotic Costa Rican named Juan. He had a son named Carlos who was the same age as I was. The summer I turned 16 we learned of love on a Sunday morning, drinking coffee and eating the bread my mother had taught me to make. The coffee was bitter and the bread was sweet, as was our fleeting love.
Preheat your oven to 350. Grease and flour two 8×4 loaf pans.
In one bowl, mix together, with love, the flour salt and soda. Set aside. In another bowl or a stand mixer, combine the shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add the bananas and then the eggs a little at a time and then the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir until it’s well blended. Pour your batter into your loaf pans and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until a sharp knife or one of those barbecue skewers poked in the middle comes out relatively clean – it can have a few crumbs because the heat will continue to bake it and you want your bread to be moist and luscious. Let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then turn onto racks to let cool completely.
I like to put pieces of banana into my mix rather than mash them, because I feel that the small pieces give it a more rustic, natural texture. I also enjoy serving the slices lightly toasted with natural peanut butter on a cold winter’s morning, as I watch the sunlight dance on new fallen snow. I reminisce about my childhood and Carlos…