To me, there are few things better than a perfect recipe. A set of instructions that, when followed, yields a reliably delicious product no matter what. When that recipe is so simple it could fit on a sticky-note, even better.
My all-time favorite perfect/reliable recipe is one that was passed down through our family from my great-grandmother, Margaret Newton. I knew her as Nanna, and she lived a few towns away from my childhood home. I remember exploring her house with my sister Emma, and finding secret passageways. I remember eating a crabapple from the tree in her front yard and immediately regretting it. And of course I remember that she loved us.
What I don’t remember is her ever making banana bread. And yet, this perfect recipe that I have made dozens of times comes from her kitchen. I’ve made it on three continents and it has never, ever failed. I’ve added more bananas to the recipe, infused it with nuts and dried fruit, given it glaze and crumb topping (as shown below), and it always emerges from the oven with perfect shape, texture, and taste.
And so, an homage to Margaret Newton. The perfect banana bread.
- 3 bananas, mashed (I like frozen bananas that became overripe)
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of Crisco
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- A pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bread pan. Mix all ingredients. Bake for one hour.