Banana bread

Jenny always makes it seem so easy – 3 or 4 too-brown bananas transformed into a delicious, nutty banana bread. On Sunday she suggested I try it myself. Not being much of an improvisational cook, she suggested the wonderfully homey “Pine to Prairie Cookbook, Volume II” for inspiration, published by the equally comforting “Telephone Pioneers of America, C.P. Wainman Chapter #18.” The following recipe is based on Emogene Homa’s, page 363:

1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
2 eggs
3 or 4 large bananas, mashed
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Soften the butter and cream it together with the sugar. Mix in the eggs and stir until smooth. Add the bananas, and then stir in all the dry ingredients. Fold in the nuts just at the end. Pour the dough into a lightly greased loaf pan and bake at 350°F for a little over an hour, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

I used brown sugar and a cup of whole wheat flour, which made for a denser, darker loaf. I also let mine bake just a little
too long (our oven can be a bit touchy). The top was nice and crunchy, but it was a tad too dry inside.

Eat it plain, or try it toasted, with a generous slice of cream cheese on top.  

21:31:58 PM

Teddy is our older female cat. She’ll be 13 this year. She is both our most loving and our most vicious cat – a harsh mistress. She will coo and purr ecstatically, then stop you suddenly with a swipe of her claws.

One of her greatest pleasures is to be bathed – not dunked in water and soaked to the skin, but like a cat, moist on the outside and dry underneath. It doesn’t matter where the water comes from. Outside, she likes a powdery snow, a light rain or a heavy dew. Inside, she comes running when we mist the houseplants. But I think her favorite is in the bathtub.

She jumps into the tub, purring in anticipation, as I start a thin stream from the tap. She raises herself up to test the water. Satisfied, she turns her back to me. I wet my hand, sprinkle it over her, and then rub it in. Her fur slicks back like an otter’s. Again. Dark chocolate on top, soft white down below. Again.

In between, she returns to the faucet, wetting her whiskers and taking a drink – a little less water now, but still rubbing it in. Her hair fluffs up as it dries, and shines. She’s beautiful, don’t you think?  

10:37:14 AM

-1°C (30.2°F) Good morning. Light blue patches in between clouds. We got over 6 inches of snow, but the roads stayed clear, and only 3 inches stuck to the ground. Daffodil leaves like fingers wave from the backyard. I hope their blooms aren’t damaged.