There are certain foods that accompanied every childhood Christmas, birthday, or even non-holiday visit with my mom’s family. This is where my pickled beet obsession comes from, my adoration of potato salad, and a strangely intense emotional response to banana bread. For the most part, I treated such special foods as the domain of those kitchens in which they were first served to me, with no attempt to make them for myself. The one exception was my first Thanksgiving away from family when I frantically called my mom to beg her for her stuffing recipe (stuffing being the one Thanksgiving food I truly missed).
However, a few years ago my mom gave me a blank recipe book with recipe cards, and I started handing them out to family members with the hopes of putting together some kind of family recipe collection. Since then, I have been rather negligent about baking and cooking my way through those recipes, but today I made banana bread, and it was so perfect that I almost cried (strangely emotional response indeed!). Now my apartment smells like home and I have 5 (wups, now only 4) mini-loaves of a banana bread to enjoy this week (today).
Banana Bread (My great-grandmother’s recipe given to me by my great-aunt Jeanne)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter (original recipe calls for shortening)
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat and 1/2 cup white flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter (and flour, if you have the patience for it) 3-6 mini loaf pans (5x3x2), depending on how high you want each loaf to be in the pan. The original recipe calls for 3 mini-loaf pans, but I used 6 and filled each loaf pan up only half-way. Mash the bananas and set aside. To make the batter, start by creaming the butter with the sugar. Add the egg and then the milk, and mix well. Add the dry ingredients (powder, soda, flour, and salt) all at once and mix only to fully combine. Add the mashed bananas and mix only to fully combine again. Pour the batter directly into the mini loaf pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.