I have been craving Banana Nut Bread. I used to bake it a lot when my kid’s were at home—usually, whenever we had bananas that became too ripe. You know, when their bright yellow skins have turned black on the outside and they feel kind of mushy.
When the bananas become on the verge of spoiling, they actually become sweeter and moister. So, resist the urge to toss them into the garbage and indulge in a little home baking project as they are now perfect for baking Banana Nut Bread!
I stopped baking just one loaf and began baking at least two or three at at time as the treat was always welcomed by not only my family, but by my boy’s friends. I learned very quickly that whenever driving my kid’s and their friends to school, I’d better have enough of that sweet delicacy to go around the car. I’d slice it, warm it, and put a little butter on it before wrapping the pieces in paper towels to dole out.
As I was pondering the appeal of Banana Nut Bread in general, I started thinking about what it could represent and began a fun little exploration about what goes into it.
My recipe calls for very basic ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, bananas and walnuts. Much like some basic people whom we come across in our lives.
BUTTER is a staple in food preparation. Its rich, creamy feel and nutty flavor works in combination with other basic ingredients (sugar, eggs, flour), and together the texture and body given to baked goods is unmistakeable. And, despite the food companies attempts to make us believe margarine is a better alternative, there is no substitute for real butter!
Butter represents long time friends. Like the kind that we don’t see for ten years, but when we do get to visit or talk with them, our comfort level returns in an instant. Kind of like putting on our favorite pair of jeans or old comfortable shoes. They can make life smoother as we ingest their love.
SUGAR has many uses in baking besides enhancing the flavor and adding sweetness. One of those includes bringing air into the batter. Creaming together the butter and sugar induces air pockets that helps provide a light texture.
Sugar obviously exemplifies those wonderful individuals who take the edge off of life. Sweet, wonderful people who through simply a smile or a hug can communicate so much. Those that easily encourage and believe in us. Somehow they convince us that we are beautiful inside and out even on those days when we don’t feel like it.
EGGS are amazing because they support so many things in the baking process. They enable dough to bind together and provide more air. Not to mention, adding flavor and color to our baking.
Eggs symbolize those people in our lives that have an impact in some very important way. They break open and assist us in learning important lessons. Sometimes they remain in our lives and sometimes they do not. And, we may not even realize until years down the road, just how significant they have been.
VANILLA extract straight from the bottle smells wonderful but tastes terrible. Just a few drops enhances all the other flavors in a recipe. It offers that little extra something and works to keep goods from tasting boring.
Vanilla signifies those we come across whose intentions may be good, but they don’t always deliver in the sleekest manner. In other words, they smell good, but taste bad. Not to say all these encounters are negative, we just have to recognize that occasionally what we want to hear and what we need to hear are two different things.
FLOUR adds the umph to many baked goodies, and our BNB is no different. There are different types of flour out there geared for whatever goodies you’re baking, I just use the good old fashioned multi-purpose kind.
Flour stands for those persons that are with us for the long haul. Good, bad, or ugly, they stick with us and add substance to our life. Relationships come and go, but these are the ones that last forever.
BAKING SODA is used to leaven the dough so it rises up during baking. It is often added in a recipe that has a type of acidic ingredient (for us, it’s the fruit). Once placed into the batter, baking soda begins its work immediately.
Baking Soda people are those that push us to grow. They help by pressing us forward, even when we want to give up. Not listening to our self-pity or our excuses, they give us a good firm shove from behind in order to rise up to meet a challenge.
BANANAS come in all sizes, colors, and firmness. Most of us think of the typical yellow ones, but there are also red, purple, and green. They grow in clusters of 50 to 150 bananas. Their sweet, rich taste makes them not only a popular energy fruit, but an excellent source of potassium.
Bananas depict people. They come in all sizes, colors, and firmness. Their personalities are as numerous as the stars and bring variety into our lives. Being around such an assortment enables us to broaden our perspective, helps us appreciate differences, and makes us more compassionate. They can furnish us energy and contribute contrast as opposed to sticking only to those with whom we feel comfortable.
WALNUTS add crunch and flavor. They are optional, but if you can and want to eat the heart-healthy little things, they just add so much more texture to the Banana Nut Bread. Besides, if not added, it just becomes plain old Banana Bread.
Walnuts—all nuts are just crazy fun! These are the few people that bring laughter and joy and a light-hearted sense of humor into your life. We all need at least a couple of nuts in our life! Besides, if not added, life becomes sorrowfully mundane.
Combining all the varied encounters that we experience over a lifetime makes for a unique existence. No one experiences one the same as another. Relish the flavor of life through the complexities of those who share it with us—it’s what makes life go around.
That wonderful sweet, nutty smell of baking Banana Nut Bread is irresistible. And, everyone in the house will demand a slice hot out of the oven.
I’m not claiming to be a nutritionist or a master chef by any means. And, there are lots of people that may make their Banana Nut Bread different from me. That’s terrific! Variety is the spice of life, after all.
But, if I have whet your appetite to do a little baking of something flavorful and delicious, here is my very simple recipe:
BANANA NUT BREAD
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ to 2 mashed bananas
- ½ cup walnuts (optional)
Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Add flour and soda and mix well. Stir in mashed bananas and nuts. Bake in a loaf pan at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until done when tested.
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