By the age of twenty I was starting into my third year of training to prepare for a life of overseas missions work. I had moved from Ohio to Wisconsin and then to the top of a mountain in eastern Kentucky to spend my days learning and practicing all that I would need to know to survive...and thrive long term in a third world, remote location.
Although I always had a keen interest in cooking (some of my favorite Saturday morning memories are clipping recipes from the food section of the Columbus Dispatch and filing them in my well organized, pink index card holder), it wasn't until my time in the mountains and later in the backwoods of Mississippi, that my skills in the basics were honed.
Those years, first as a young single woman ready to conquer the world and later as a young married woman ready to tackle the world, were some of the most foundational, growing, impacting years of what would become the life I now live and love today.
I have a handful of recipes I still use repeatably from the worn cookbook journal I kept during that time in the tiny mission house kitchen. This Banana Bread recipe is one of them. I've tried others over the years....many, in fact. But I always come back to this. Its sweet~ but not overly sweet. And what lies beneath that amazingly, thin and crispy shell is a moist, yet sturdy, full flavored, perfectly perfect banana bread.
No bells or whistles. No nuts, cinnamon, swirls of flavor or chocolate chips. Of course, feel free to add any or all of those. Here at The Smith Homestead though, we remain banana bread purists.
Quintessential Banana Bread
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
2 lg eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1t baking soda
Move oven rack to the lowest position. Heat to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of one large loaf pan. Sprinkle with sugar.
Mix sugar and butter in a large bowl. Add eggs until blended. Add bananas, milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Stir, just until combined, into the banana mixture.
Pour into bread pan.
Bake 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes in pan and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.