What kinds of food do you remember from your childhood? Everyone’s oldest food memories are rooted in the scene of their youth, descriptive of a unique life, and I’d bet most of us have lots of them.
Think about it. If you’re currently a 20-30 something American kid like me, you’re probably reminiscing about Spaghetti-o’s, mac-n-cheese, and peanut-butter & jellies. Maybe you come from a family that did lots of cooking together, perhaps had a grandma or aunt that made the food that was taught to them by their grandmothers.
Perhaps you just remember that you used to put peas up your nose and ketchup in your mashed potatoes. Or flung string beans against the wall. Hey, it’s cool if that’s all you can remember.
No, this isn’t going to be about childhood temper-tantrums or re-creating the infamous Spaghetti-o, but I think it fitting to put you in the same nostalgic frame of mind that I find myself every time I bake up a batch of banana bread.
This is one of the recipes that always brings me back to my first forays into the cooking world. Mom peeling overripe bananas for my sister and I to mash away at in a bowl, set at an accessible height – on the kitchen floor – and the later aromatic masterpiece that would sit cooling, tantalizingly out of reach.
The creation of those first breads always left me in awe: the deadest-looking banana ever could be brought back to vibrant life in a bread that looked nothing like its original components. Obviously, five-year-old me thought, banana bread = magic.
So now I bake this recipe for me, my friends, and my family, and yes, it’s my party-trick. Maybe it’s just magically delicious, or maybe it conjures up a memory for them, too.
FYI: magicians don’t normally tell their secrets, but for you I’m going to make an exception. (It’s the peanut butter… And chocolate chips on top!)
Banana Peanut Butter Bread
¼ c. butter, softened or room temperature
¼ c. applesauce, ideally same temp. as butter
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. honey
2 eggs, ideally room temp.
½ c. peanut butter
2 lg. or 3 small very ripe or overripe bananas, pureed
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
Chocolate chips for topping
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and then spray or lightly grease a 5 x 9 loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar with either an electric mixer or brute arm strength. Add eggs, beat in as well. Stir in peanut butter and bananas until everything is reaal smooth like your grandma’s favorite Jazz station. Mix in flour and baking soda until just. blended. Pour into your prepared pan.
Bake at 325 degrees for 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center, as if you were the slayer of a tiny vampire, comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes (if you can wait this long), then remove to fully cool on wire rack.
When the bread is all done, share with friends and family, perhaps starting a new tradition… or gobble up entirely by yourself. There’s time to make more later. Maybe even serve with mac-n-cheese...