My earliest memories are of my Grandmother, Fairy Belle. She was very present in our lives and for a time, lived with us. I remember coming home from school and watching Another World and All My Children (or as she called them, her “stories”).
But mostly I remember her in the kitchen.
My love of feeding people comes from her. But it wasn’t just the food. It was also the conversation. I learned so much over the mixing bowl as every turn in the kitchen had a pinch and a dash of wisdom.
A very humble woman, my Nana didn’t think she knew very much, but to this day I find myself referring to her with “my grandmother used to say…”
She lived by the Golden Rule, to treat all with kindness and that the good of the many outweighed the wants of the few, lessons for which I will always be grateful. She believed that you shouldn’t cook or bake if you were in a bad mood, as it would transfer to the food. And that the food you make is a love letter to those who eat it.
There are many recipes and dishes I could share from what I like to call “The Fairy Belle Cafe” but this one is simple and fills the house with a wonderful fragrance (plus you get to use up those rotten bananas!) If I could add my own note it would be to allow your bananas to become very dark and then freeze them. It gives a lot more moisture to the loaf. This recipe also makes wonderful muffins.
Nana’s Banana Bread
1/2 butter or margarine
1-1/2 cups (350 ml) brown sugar
1 cup (225 ml) mashed banana (approx 3-4 medium)
1 tsp (5 ml). vanilla
2 cups (475 ml) flour
1 tsp (5 ml). baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 ml). salt
1/2 cup (125 ml) sour cream (or you can add a few drops of vinegar in milk and let it sit for a few minutes to curdle)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 C.).
Grease 2 loaf pans (Nana used butter, I use cooking spray)
Cream the butter, slowly add the sugar and beat until light. Add the banana, eggs and vanilla and beat well. In another bowl mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the banana mixture and blend. Add the sour cream and beat until well blended. Spread in the pans and bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and shake confectioners sugar on top.