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Thoumma's Banana Bread

Every now and then I intentionally will have left over bananas. I’ll get the baking bug and will want to make all sorts of things from cookies, cornbread, cake, and in particular—banana bread. The banana bread recipe is my mom’s. She learned how to bake oatmeal raisin cookies and banana bread from a family in North Branch, MN—a small town some 45 minutes away from the Twin Cities. Our families were close—so close that I was named after one of their sons—Daniel.

Through this family I learned my first words in English, tasted hot oatmeal, went to church; my mother learned how to bake. I was the little helper in the kitchen perfecting my culinary skills in mashing bananas, stirring batter, adding ingredients, and approving taste. When it came time to bake banana bread I was always there. The banana breads were so popular that people in her ESL class were willing to pay her in exchange for a loaf.

Now that I’m older, I emulate her recipe from memory and from the heart. My banana breads are the same ones my mother used to bake and I’m going to share her recipe with you all. This is not a secret recipe, it’s a family recipe.

Thoumma’s Banana Bread***
3 ripe bananas (medium-sized)
2 ½ cup flour*
¾ cup Vegetable shortening **
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

1.    Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees.
2.    Prepare bread loaf pan by greasing surface.
3.    Mash ripe bananas well with a potato masher, then add sugar. Mix well.
4.    Add 2 eggs and continue to mix, adding baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
5.    Cut in vegetable shortening (**or use liquid vegetable shortening). Mix well.
6.    Add one cup of flour, mix. Then add another and mix. *Depending on the size of the bananas the amount of flour will vary, however, you want a consistency that is not too runny or too thick.
7.    Pour into one loaf pan.
8.    Bake for approximately 45-55 minutes. If a fork comes out clean then the bread is done.
Makes one loaf.

***Over the years I’ve experimented adding chocolate chips, almonds, walnuts, and they’ve all turn out pretty good. My favorite is just the plain old original recipe.


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