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Family Connection: Banana Bread




Recently, I decided to bake a treat to take into my coworkers. Sharing goodies is quite common here, and we have some pretty awesome cooks! So I thumbed through my recipe files to find something worthy enough to share. Not finding anything that stood out, I walked into the kitchen to find a snack. Instead, I discovered some overripe bananas. Yuck! As I wrinkled my nose, it dawned on me -- I would bake my Great Grandma Bell’s banana bread.

To my delight, it was a hit at work, and there were only crumbs left by lunchtime. I can’t say I was surprised though – it seems that any time “Grandma” or “old family recipe” is attached to food, that dish always disappears in record time.


There’s something magical, and dare I say foolproof, about sharing a recipe like GG Bell’s banana bread.

 

I feel that the connection to my family is strengthened every time I make this type of recipe. When I make this bread in particular, I think about GG Bell -- about her famous dill pickles, how much she loved mini Reese’s Cups, and her strong independence. There was always something tasty waiting to be eaten in her kitchen, and her garden was always full of fresh produce -- a very exciting place for young children like my brother and me!

 


And who doesn’t trust Grandma’s recipes? You know you’re making a dish that’s going to be amazing, and not just because it’s stuck around long enough for you to inherit it. You also know that it’s satisfied hungry eaters at ladies’ lunches, family reunions, and church dinners. In some cases, generations of cooks have practiced and perfected a recipe -- and now you get to eat the reward of their work and love.

 


The bottom line is that sharing family recipes isn’t just satisfying to your belly. It can also be a point of pride and a connection to someone you love. Do you have a family recipe like my GG Bell’s banana bread? What makes that dish special to you?

 

Irene Bell’s Banana Bread

 


This batter is very dense, and I recommend baking it in multiple, smaller pans. The longer you can stand to leave the bananas to ripen, the yummier your bread will be!

 

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
2 eggs, beaten
3 medium or 4 small, ripe bananas
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the sugar and shortening.

Add the beaten eggs to the sugar mixture.

Mash the bananas one by one in a small bowl until smooth; add them to the sugar mixture.

Lightly mix the wet ingredients.

In a fresh bowl, add the salt and soda to one cup of flour; mix well. Add the remaining flour and mix well.*

Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well.

Pour into two medium, well-greased loaf pans.

Bake for 45 minutes (baking time may vary depending on pan size and your oven).

Cool completely before removing from the pans.

 

*It’s really important to get the soda and salt mixed well in this recipe, so don’t skip this step!