Back when I got married the first time – which would be (doing the math…) 24 years ago last month – my mother gave me Cooking Down East by Marjorie Standish as a wedding gift. Except that now that I type that, I think maybe it was a Christmas gift. Whichever, I’ve had it for 24 years and I love the hell out of it.
(One day I’ll make the Blueberry Cake, because that is the finest stuff on the face of this earth, I tell you what.)
Last week, Katherine gave me some bananas that were getting overripe, and I knew immediately that it was time to make this bread, because it’s been a while and a life without banana bread is just not worth living.
This recipe doesn’t call for nuts of any kind – I made it without nuts this time around, but I’ve added walnuts or toasted pecans in the past and had it turn out really good. It just depends on whether you’re in the mood for nuts. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. HA HA.
Shortening, salt, sugar, flour, baking soda, bananas. I keep shortening in my pantry for exactly two recipes: this one, and the Blueberry Cake. I honestly can’t think of any other recipe I use it for.
Cream the shortening, then add salt and sugar. The recipe says to add the sugar “gradually”, so I add about 1/3 of the cup of sugar at a time and let it blend in really well before I add more. When the sugar is all added, you add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg is tossed in. While that’s going on, I like to go ahead and sift my flour and baking soda together.
Did I mention that the light in my kitchen is crappy?
The recipe then suggests that you mash the bananas with a fork and then “beat until light.” I don’t do that, because there’s only so much I’m willing to do. I’m not going to mash the damn things and then beat them AND THEN put them in the mixer. I mean, seriously, what the hell? I AM TAKING A STAND, DAMNIT.
Then after you mash and beat the bananas (or don’t), you add the bananas to the batter alternately with the flour and baking soda (which you sifted together, remember?)
When it’s all mixed up, dump it into a greased loaf pan and bake for an hour. I like to start checking on mine at 50 minutes, just to be safe. I think this time around, it was done (checked with a toothpick) at 55 minutes.
Here’s the thing about any kind of quick bread like this: it needs to sit. It’s pretty good if you eat it as soon as it’s cool, but if you wrap it up in plastic and stick it in an out of the way cupboard for two or three days? It is FABULOUS. I wrapped mine in plastic wrap, intending to let it sit for a couple of days, but someone couldn’t wait that long, and got into it the very next day. I refused to eat any that day, but the day after that I ate a piece and holy smokes. SO GOOD.
I ate my slice plain, but I’ve eaten it with cream cheese in the past. It’s also good warmed up with a bit of butter on it. Fred ate some with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and gave it two thumbs up.
- ¼ c. shortening
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1½ c. flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3 bananas, beaten creamy
- Cream shortening, add salt, add sugar gradually.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Sift flour together with baking soda. Mash bananas with a fork, beat until light, add alternately with sifted dry ingredients to egg mixture.
- Turn into greased loaf pan.
- Bake 1 hour at 350ºF.