It’s always a thrill and an honor when someone shares a special family recipe, especially when it won second place at the Tennessee State Fair.
This banana bread recipe comes from my friend Lisa’s husband, Ronnie. He handed me a sample of his legendary banana bread and a hand written recipe this past summer when I mentioned I wrote a food blog. I left the gym with the banana bread in hand, trying not to eat too much of it, but it was irresistible… and I’m not the biggest banana fan.
Now some people will not share their recipes and I suppose that’s their business, but I think that’s rather silly. After all, who knows who baked the first banana bread or roasted the first pig. Now there are thousands of recipes for both, because someone shared what they did with others. As one good idea builds upon another, recipes evolve through many passes in many kitchens and vary by location as ingredients are available. Every cook puts their own touch into a dish and every hand creates something of their own. I believe every good cook is an artist, marrying chemistry and creativity.
That’s exactly what I learned as a faux artist. I would write down my recipes which were often complicated and multi-layered. Even with exact notes, I would have a hard time repeating that finish at a different job site. It’s rare when a faux artist can produce the same exact finish twice, because it’s all about the day, the place, the lighting, and the mood of the artist. And yet, I knew faux artists who coveted their recipes and wouldn’t share them. Now the real class act professionals were always willing to share because they knew that it took more than a recipe to create a work of art. I sat in classes of 12 where we would be following instructions and all asked to create the same sample. Not one sample looked like the next. I doubt I could repeat this exact finish today. But, I know I could end up with something similar and related and equally as cool.
The above is an example of a several layer faux finish using many textures that was inspired by another artist, who was inspired by another artist. None of our finishes look the same, but are are creatively connected.
I think cooking and even baking (where more precise measurements are used) is also an artistic expression and I’ll bet that if fifty people made this banana bread, there would be a slight nuance to be noticed in all fifty. Not to say this recipe doesn’t “work.” It’s a great recipe, but there is a a range of variation that makes a finished dish belong to the cook who made it. And, who doesn’t adapt recipes, meaning changing something about it, whether it’s the ingredients or the technique? I would venture to say that I change most every recipe to some degree to suit myself, even the baking recipes. I tweaked the recipe a tiny bit but, it’s basically still Ronnie’s recipe. I usually always reduce the sugar, because most American cakes and pies are too sweet for me. I cut the sugar in this recipe by 25%.
He was very specific about not being specific. If you have coconut, add it in. If you want to add chocolate chips, nothing’s stopping you. If you love nuts, choose your favorites. I added in a dash of nutmeg and a teaspoon of cinnamon.
He did, however, say to crumble the nuts with brown sugar and bake them on top of the bread not inside. And, that is what makes this banana bread so special and so good looking.
Banana Bread Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (note: if you use all purpose, add in 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 teaspoons salt)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- dash nutmeg
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 cup nuts, chopped coarsely (pecans or walnuts work well)
- Mix the dry ingredients together.
- Mash bananas.
- Add in eggs, vanilla, bananas and oil and stir, but don’t overmix.
- Back at 350 fro 50-60 minutes.
Note: I cut the sugar by 25%. If you have a sweeter tooth, you can add in another 1/4 cup sugar. I added in nutmeg and cinnamon, which you add or delete, depending upon your taste.