Monday, June 27, 2011

Byers Banana Bread

My Community Kitchens Cookbook from the Byers United Methodist Church probably wins the prize for the most battered and stained in my whole cookbook collection (and I have an impressive collection).

It takes a rubber band to hold it together these days. On the inside cover, it reads:

A Book of Favorite Recipes
Women's Society of Christian Service of
The United Methodist Church
Byers, Kansas
My mom inscribed: To Kim from Mother, April 1972

The Byers UMC was my childhood church. When I was a sophomore in high school, we began going to the Pratt UMC.

But it was my church home for the first 15 years of my life. On Sunday, my parents, Randy & I went to the last service for the church in the town 3.5 miles from where I grew up. As is customary for United Methodist churches which are closing, there was a special service to say goodbye. (More on that later.)

It's where my parents were married and where I first remember gathering in the basement for song time and Sunday School, usually taught by my Grandma Neelly or my mom.

The Byers UMC has been an anchor for the little town of Byers for a long, long time. And the cookbook has been a sort of touchpoint for me throughout the years, too. Looking through it, I see the names of the ladies from my childhood, our neighbors and friends.

One of the most used recipes in the cookbook is for Banana Bread. In fact, instead of leaving the cover at the front, I have page 33, the one that features the Banana Bread recipe, just underneath the rubber band. I've converted it for a double or triple recipe more times than I can count. (I like being able to put extras in the freezer. It's great to mess up the kitchen once and get a bunch of production!)

Hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

Banana Bread
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

Cream together oil and sugar. Add mashed bananas, eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Combine dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to the banana mixture, alternately with buttermilk, beating after each addition. Add nuts, stirring well.

Bake in large loaf pan or two small loaf pans at 325 degrees. The large pan takes about an hour to bake, the smaller ones, around 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

This freezes well.

Recipe Notes:
  • The bananas in the photo aren't ripe enough for this recipe. They are just for decoration!
  • You can leave out the nuts. I always had to leave nuts out of part of it for Jill.
  • If you don't have buttermilk, you can use 1 tablespoon of vinegar, then fill the measuring cup to 1/2 cup. Let sit while you are preparing other ingredients.
This weekend was jam-packed with activities. I went to the Festival of Breads in Wichita on Saturday. I'll have more from it later, including an interview with the winner and other contestants, as well as prize-winning recipes.

Winner Gale Collier, Redmond, Oregon, as she was taking her Quick Raisin Granola Breakfast Rolls into the judging room.

After the special Byers church closing service, we went to my folks' house for dinner. It was like a blast from the past, since my Mom fixed roast beef with potatoes and carrots. That was our customary Sunday dinner when I was growing up. She also made Strawberry Cake for my birthday, plus homemade ice cream (chocolate ice cream with Heath brickle chips). Yum! With a birthday that customarily falls during wheat harvest, it was the first time in a long time I'd been treated to homemade cake and ice cream that someone else had made. Thanks Mom!

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