Don’t throw out those bananas!

I’m the type of person that usually throws bananas away when they look like this. I know better. Of course I do. My mom makes the best banana bread in at the least the 48 continental states. Trust me. It’s not just that I’m biased. Anyone who has ever tried her banana bread will take a bite, their eyes grow as big as saucers and then they say (around their bite of banana bread), “Oh… my! This is the most amazing banana bread I’ve ever had!” And then their eyes close in delight, they finish that first slice of bread and then have another. Honest. I’ve seen it happen more times than I can count.

As delicious as they are, there’s something about my mom’s recipes that makes me lean towards not ever wanting to make them. It’s special when I drive the 2.5 hours to her house to eat them. And they’re kind of sacred – the meals and treats of my childhood. Banana bread, cobbler, fruit pizza (a newer addition), chicken spaghetti, turkey taco casserole, peanut butter cookies – I need a moment of silence to honor her peanut butter cookies. They are pretty much my favorite cookies in the world. Sure, I’ve made them several times, but I don’t like to. Is that weird?

To make these favorite dishes, desserts and delights for my own husband and (soon to be) kids just seems wrong. It means I’m an adult now. That’s a little depressing. But in the same breath, I think it’s kind of exciting. I had such a happy childhood and there are lots of meals I remember eating over and over again and never growing tired of them. Maybe there’s some connection. Happy tummy = happy heart? There must be some truth to the old adage “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” I’m going to suggest it’s not just men. Maybe the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. Nothing wrong with that as long as you’re not encouraging life-threatening obesity, right?

Mom’s Banana Bread – from the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, 1972 edition
(Mom’s recipe is slightly different than what is in the cookbook. We’re keeping the adapted version as a family secret, but play around with this one and figure out what works best for your tastebuds!)

Ingredients:

1/2 C shortening
1 C sugar
2 eggs
3/4 C mashed ripe banana
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
self-control, so that you don’t eat it all before your husband gets home

Method:

Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in banana. Sift together dry ingredients; add to banana mixture; mix well. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-40 mins.

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