When I was little I used to visit my grandmother every weekend to help her clean, do grocery shopping, and take care of her chickens. In return, she taught me how to do things like sew, garden, and cook some really amazing food.
One of our favorite recipes to cook together was banana bread. Every weekend when we went grocery shopping, my grandmother would grab a large bunch of bananas. But since she lived alone, she didn’t go through all of them by the next weekend. By then they were about ready to check out.
Fifteen years later, I don’t have nearly as much time to spend at my grandmother’s house, but I still try to visit when I can. Since she is too old to cook or clean for herself anymore, certain members of my extended family (including me) bring her food and clean her house for her on our assigned day of the week.
When I go every Thursday, I bring her her favorites like chicken parmesan, the best egg salad, and the banana bread that we have been making together for over fifteen years.
I have tried a handful of banana bread recipes, but none turn out quite as good as my grandmother’s recipe. Every time I use her recipe, I get a soft, cake-like loaf with a perfectly moist crumb, and a rich, sweet (but not overly sweet) flavor. You can also achieve a very pleasant earthiness if you choose to use some whole wheat flour.
It takes just minutes from deciding to make banana bread until it’s in the oven. You can also make it wherever you are, whether you have a mixer or not; a fork can get the job done just as well! This comes in particularly handy if you babysit children. If you let them help you, it will keep them from unrolling the paper towels just to use the cardboard center as a telescope. Plus, it’s fun for them so it’s a win-win situation (and you get to eat banana bread afterwards)!
I am positive that banana bread is 50% of the reason that bananas exist. I am not lying when I say that about 80% of the bananas I buy are too soft for snacking by the time I get to them. I sort of just forget that they are hanging up there in my hanging baskets until I notice fruit flies collecting or the smell of them checking out. Yet I still buy them every week.
But it’s not a total waste, because overripe bananas are the secret to fabulously moist banana bread. They also contribute to a bolder banana flavor in the final loaf.
Other than contributing a great flavor, the banana in this recipe also provides a nutritional punch. It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals such as a good amount of dietary fiber, protein, and potassium.