June 11, 2010





Recently, Idecided to bake a treat to take into mycoworkers. Sharing goodies is quite common here, and we have some prettyawesome cooks! So I thumbed through my recipe files to find something worthy enough toshare. 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 crumbsleftby lunchtime. I can’t say I was surprised though – it seems that anytime “Grandma”or “old family recipe” is attached to food, that dish always disappearsinrecord time.

There’s something magical, and dare I say foolproof, aboutsharing a recipe like GG Bell’s banana bread.  I feel that the connection to my familyis strengthenedevery time I make this type of recipe. When I make this bread inparticular, I think about GG Bell -- about herfamous dill pickles, how much she loved mini Reese’s Cups, and herstrongindependence. There was always something tasty waiting to be eaten inherkitchen, and her garden was always full of fresh produce -- a veryexcitingplace for young children like my brother and me! 

And who doesn’t trust Grandma’s recipes? You know you’re makinga dish that’s going to be amazing, and not just because it’s stuckaround longenough for you to inherit it. You also know that it’s satisfied hungryeatersat ladies’ lunches, family reunions, and church dinners. In some cases,generationsof cooks have practiced and perfected a recipe -- and now you get to eatthereward of their work and love. 

The bottom line is that sharing family recipesisn’t justsatisfying to your belly. It can also be a point of pride and aconnection tosomeone you love. Do you have a family recipe like my GG Bell’s bananabread?What makes that dish special to you?  

Irene Bell’s Banana Bread 

This batter is very dense, and I recommend baking it inmultiple, 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.

Creamtogether the sugar and shortening.

Add the beaten eggs tothe 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 intotwo 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!