In the same year that Three Mile Island shocked the country with its nuclear reactor accident, I had the fortune to live in the coolest house in the world.
It was a row house, but one with an odd construction. The downstairs was an enormous, hardwood floored room with eleven foot ceilings, and huge wooden pillars at its entry from the hallway, as though it had been a ballroom long before. And upstairs, there were five bedrooms: one for us, one for the child, and three for guests.
House parties were not uncommon for us in that house; out of town guests would come and stay for a night or a weekend, in-town friends came to share our evening meal several times a week. That space of time in that house was delightful to me -- I had the opportunity to cook for bunches of people, which I enjoyed greatly, and because we were all young and fit, we ate with gusto.
One of the treats that was always welcome was banana bread. Still warm from the oven, spread with butter and joined by coffee or hot tea, it was a sociable dish to share, requiring no tiny polite bites, inviting bold requests for seconds, for thirds, and always eaten up in its entirety.
The recipe was easy, too.
- 1 3/4 cups flour (I sift it, but sifting isn't required)*
- 2/3 cups sugar*
- 1 teaspoon baking powder*
- 1/2 teaspoon salt*
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda*
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 cup mashed bananas
- 2 beaten eggs
Mix starred ingredients thoroughly.
Cut in shortening to coarse crumbs.
Fork in the bananas and eggs until just blended.
Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan, and bake at 350 degrees F. for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
Thirty-two years have passed, and I've moved many times and across the country, but I still fondly remember those hungry house parties, in that wonderful, magical house. The scent of this banana bread takes me back in memory, and always makes me smile.