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Banana bread and the Brits

Banana breadLast week, I blogged about a new banana bread recipe I tried, which got me thinking … do Brits eat banana bread? Did it originate in America? And is this one our American culinary contributions that Brits have embraced like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?

After doing a little research, I found a Guardian article that answered all of my questions and more. It did, in fact, originate stateside.

“Banana bread as we know it doesn’t appear in cookbooks until the 1930s. Food history website foodtimeline.org suggests that although it’s sometimes attributed to thrifty housewives looking to use up overripe fruit, all evidence points to the fact it was developed by banana companies to promote their wares – indeed ‘in the 1950s banana bread was actively promoted in nationally syndicated television cooking shows.’ Jane Grigson writes in her Fruit Book that it appeared in [the U.K.] after the war, when West Indian bananas returned to the shops – presumably once everyone had gorged themselves on the fruit in its natural state, they began to seek other ways to make the most of it.

Also it’s interesting to note that British recipes for banana bread usually includes baking powder, instead of baking soda (the recipe I tried last week was very American and included baking soda), which usually lends to a lighter, fluffier cake.

Banana bread serendipity

This week, I had an excess of slightly over ripe bananas and the desire to do some baking. What to do?

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That same day, Ally from A Girl and Her Fork blogged about a recipe for banana bread that she had tried and loved. Simple ingredients, straightforward instructions. Bingo! I was sold. I made it the very next day.

The banana bread was legendary. Super moist, lots of depth of flavor, crispy on the edges, just delicious! If you’re in search for a go-to easy banana bread recipe, here’s the one!

Julia’s Best Banana Bread (Bon Appetit, March 2013)

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup vegetable oil

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, bananas, and oil in a large bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir just until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

3. Bake until a knife inserted into the center of bread comes out clean, 60-70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let bread cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around inside of pan to release the bread. Turn out onto rack and let cool completely.