Banana Bread

Margot and I walk every morning. At half-past six, I put on my running shoes and take her down stairs. For once, our college-neighborhood is quiet and calm. The heat is not oppressive, even though we can feel the promise of a scorching summer day. Across the street, our neighbor’s kitten can often be found frolicking in the tall grass of his yard (I’ve thought about stealing this kitten many times).

And then we walk through Hemp Hill Park, a stretch of green surrounded by beautiful homes in one of Austin’s more historic neighborhoods.

On many mornings, I walk and think (this does, after all, sound like the perfect time for reflection).

But today, I listened to Terry Gross talk to Louis C.K., and unsurprisingly, I was moved by their discussion.

Terry (because we’re on a first-name basis) has a way of drawing people out, of asking them the hard questions without appearing insensitive. Louis C.K. cried during his interview and I found it touching to listen to a man both intelligent and hilarious bear the broken parts of his soul.

He said something that resonated with me deeply. He talked about life, and about our false perceptions of possession. We often say things like “my life…” or “her life…” which separates living into discrete and unique stories. How terrible that this happened to her life… How lucky this happened to his

And these simple words, pronouns often, push us apart from each other in ways that can be detrimental to both collective and individual happiness.

Louis C.K. and Terry Gross talked about how we, as humans, are all in this together. It’s not my life, or his life. Instead, we are all part of a larger, more mysterious, and wonderful condition.

Now I’m not saying there is no such thing as individuality. That would be foolish and easily refuted. But I am recognizing the importance of human connection. As I saw people mourn the loss of life, as I heard people celebrate new birth, as I listened to my own dreams and to the dreams of others, I realized again and again that we are all in this together.

On Monday, a dear friend and a reader of my blog, brought me this beautiful yellow cake stand. I was touched and honored to receive it…and in that moment I felt the strong pull of our common humanity. We drew closer together in those moments, and the day ended with me feeling a little more alive.

In return, I offered a few humble slices of this banana bread (not the fairest deal, I know). But I hope she realized it was made with love. And I hope she also felt more connection.

So now that I’ve waxed on about life and philosophy, I’ll command you to go make banana bread. Because I’m convinced that food also serves an important purpose in the realm of unity and connection. It is something that we all do, no matter where we come from or what burdens we bear. It is a place where we can share and nurture each other, and it’s why I love doing it, day after day.

And I love banana bread, so you better believe this is a good one.

Banana Bread

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3 bananas (very ripe and mashed well)
6 tablespoons butter (melted and cooled)
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease an 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan (or grease 3 mini-loaf pans).

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together bananas, butter, eggs, sugar, and sour cream.  Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula (do not over-mix). The batter will and should look thick and chunky.

3.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the top. If desired, sprinkle chopped nuts or cinnamon and sugar on top.

4.  Bake until golden brown and only a few moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted in the center (about 50 minutes for a regular pan, about 20 minutes for mini pans). Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Allow to cool for 1 hour before serving.


Anecdotes and Apple Cores

45 thoughts on “Banana Bread

  1. Patty

    Lovely banana bread-just beautiful on your cake stand, such a thoughtful and generous gift;-) I love to bake banana bread, it makes the house smell so good and who wouldn’t want to receive a home baked loaf of bread as a gift? Glad you’re enjoying your Summer Monet;-)

  2. Joanne

    This is such a beautiful post and I love all your thoughts on life…whether his, hers, mine or ours. :) The cake stand is gorgeous, as is this banana bread!

  3. Wendy Irene

    I love that you said – we are all in this together. We really, truly are and whenever I am feeling separated I remind myself of this fact. Knowing this is essential to our happiness and I’m so grateful you reminded me. Banana bread is such a soul food. I adore it, and love making it with my kids. They love to mash the bananas. We just made some the other day.
    Have a beautiful day, Monet!

  4. RavieNomNoms

    Ok, first off, you are such a gorgeous writer. You intrigue me.

    Second off, I want your mixer. ADORE the color.

    Thirdly, I love banana bread. So delicious and yours looks wonderful!

  5. Vegan Thyme (Kelly)

    Oh Monet! That bread looks divine! I heard that same interview. Had much the same thought on several of the comments he made. (I love “Fresh Air”.) I baked to relieve the stress of the world myself this week–shared with the neighbor and felt so much better for having done so! Have a lovely rest of the week!

  6. Hope

    “In return, I offered a few humble slices of this banana bread (not the fairest deal, I know). But I hope she realized it was made with love.” That’s just it, Monet–it’s a fairer trade than you realize. Just as only your friend could give you that cakestand, only you could give her those particular slices of banana bread, baked with love. 😉 Hugs from Connecticut!

  7. ATasteOfMadness

    Some of this banana bread for a cake stand sounds like an excellent deal, you are an excellent baker, I never eat before I visit your blog, because everything you make looks so delicious, I get hungry after coming regardless. YUM!

  8. Annie

    It’s so true, we are in this together. I often feel that someone elses’s pain, success and everything in between are mine as well. We share the burden and comfort because I feel that whatever it is that I do could be similar to what happens to another. It’s a huge part of why I write-to find solace in knowing that another has experienced it too but mostly to say “I understand this crazy life, come join me on the journey” Not that I’m trying to take credit for someone’s idea or success though. I know this has to be an amazing banana bread with your love for it! It’s going in my recipe book!

  9. Leah @ Why Deprive?

    I love your posts Monet, you are such a beautiful writer.
    As for this recipe, it sounds amazing. Sour cream in banana bread is quite possibly the best idea I’ve heard all day.

  10. Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet)

    If only more people believed that we’re all part of the same fabric of humanity, perhaps there would be less war, discrimination, and hate! I love banana bread…I’m always secretly happy when Michael lets one or two bananas get over-ripe so I can make a batch!!

  11. Justine

    Beautiful. Yes, the stories belong to all of us. Which make them all the more difficult to tell, sometimes. I know that your friend is going to love that banana bread … because there’s nothing like food to connect people. You don’t get much closer than sharing a meal. :)

  12. Kristin Smith

    Hi there,
    I love how the banana bread looks on the cake stand. I am so glad you like it. And yes, Luke and I thoroughly enjoyed the welcome atmosphere of your home. Enjoyed finally getting to meet you in person and look forward to more opportunities to enjoy your company. And I had been looking forward to experiencing your baking since you had told me you would make us a snack. My mouth has been watering ever since I began reading your blog so I was looking forward to tasting something from your kitchen. The chocolate crinkle cookies were yummy as was the banana bread. Thanks for a lovely visit. Twas quite a fair deal. And I loved shopping for the plate for you, rather like a treasure hunt.

  13. Jane

    Hey lady, it was great to see you last might. I can’t wait to move into our new home and try your banana bread recipe. 😉

  14. Jeanne

    Unfortunately I missed that interview, but I’m grateful that you summarized it so beautifully here. I have some bananas that will be ready for banana bread soon – it’s been far too long since I’ve made it. I hope you have a lovely weekend, my friend!

  15. grace

    i’m not sure how i would react to seeing or hearing louis ck cry! must’ve been a touching interview, for sure.
    terrific loaf, monet!

  16. Living, Learning, Eating

    I do like banana bread, too! Especially with peanut butter and a scoop of vanilla ice cream :)

    What kind of book are you writing? To be able to make a living as an author would be such a dream come true…

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