Last Saturday, we had my dad, my niece Rachel and my sister-in-law with one of my other nieces and two nephews – over to meet the new granddaughter and see my daughter and grandson.
The plan was to have pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, potato salad, beans, and potato chips. Dad was to bring pie. SIL was to bring drinks, though we made iced tea, too (yes, people who don’t live in Texas drink iced tea year round). We forgot the potato salad. So, I felt kind of bad, and we had ripe bananas, and my family loves banana bread, and my 17 yr old daughter has actually been making it herself lately. So, I asked her to make it.
It takes an hour to bake, so we had time to eat and talk a bit before it was done. When it came out of the oven, I took it out of the foil-lined loaf pan and set it on a cooling rack, so we could cut into it faster.
My SIL made the first slice, though it doesn’t cut well when it’s still too warm, that didn’t deter anyone.
As my nephew was eating it, she asked him if it was any good, and with a full mouth, shook his head yes and mumbled, “Hmm, mmm.”
This is where things got kind of weird and crazy. This conversation may not be an exact duplication, but went something like this.
SIL: When Alan makes it, it’s always so good, better than any banana bread I ever made.
Me: It’s probably the sour milk or buttermilk. Like buttermilk pancakes.
SIL: Alan doesn’t use those, he uses sour cream. (to Dad) Did Carol use sour cream or buttermilk?
Dad: Mom always used sour cream.
Me: No she didn’t, she always used buttermilk.
Dad: Well, I always remember seeing her use sour cream.
SIL: Well, the recipe Alan got from your mom says sour cream.
Dad: I’m sure she did use sour cream. It’s on the recipe on the fridge still – and I think it says buttermilk OR sour cream.
Me: Ah, ah! See, it does say buttermilk. I don’t remember her ever using sour cream when I was a teenager, and I used to help her make the banana bread.
Daughter: The recipe you gave me doesn’t have sour cream – it has 2% milk.
Me: Well, maybe my original recipe had sour cream, but over the years, I had to recopy it, and since I never had sour cream in my fridge all the time, I may have just left it off your copy. (Everyone in back ground saying uh, huh) The secret is the sour part – buttermilk or sour milk or sour cream. They are basically equivalent in acidity or something, ask Alton Brown.
Daughter: So, why does mine say 2% milk? What happened to the sour cream?
Me: Well, I started using sour milk because I always have milk and vinegar in the house. I don’t always have buttermilk and sour cream. And, once I tried making it with half and half or whipping cream, you know, thinking it’s thick like buttermilk. But, it didn’t turn out right. So, it can be milk or soured milk, but not cream.
SIL: I think it’s good with sour cream.
Niece: I just texted Mom, and she says she uses sour cream and asked me why I was asking.
Me. Great, well, I know mom used to use buttermilk, because I remember her trying to drink the stuff, and I also remember you’d have to buy it in a quart, and she’d only make banana bread once a month or so, so the buttermilk would always go bad. And, we’d always find out when we tried to make another loaf and I’d have to pour the nasty stuff down the drain. Anyway, Dad, about your tree stump.
Everyone: Oh, wait a minute, so now your just trying to change the subject.
Me: No, it’s all the same, and Dad said the recipe on the fridge has sour cream OR buttermilk! Agh!
And they’re all like shaking their heads and saying “Uh, huh!”
At this point, I could picture myself (as in a sitcom scene that doesn’t actually happen, but you think about it) screaming “Why do you diss my reality? Obviously, Mom made it this way when I was there, and after I moved to Texas, you all learned a different way. Why can’t you admit that my reality may have been different from yours! Why can’t you validate me?”
Instead, and I know I didn’t handle this well, I just walked outside. In my defense, I did have some other emotional turmoil on my mind.
And, when it boils right down to it, does it really matter?
Also, I later realized something else that may have upset me – funny how these things hit you unexpectedly. The one person who can resolve this ridiculous conflict (Mom), isn’t around to do so. But, unlike the employee who is now gone so you can blame all the things you find wrong on them, instead of casting blame for this confusion, it just makes me miss her and wish she was here.
Anyway, you probably are curious about this recipe now, so here it is.
Mom’s Banana Bread
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 mashed ripe bananas
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup buttermilk, sour cream, or sour milk (milk with 2-3 teaspoons vinegar)
Mix in large measuring cup or medium bowl – flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl, cream butter and blend in sugar. Stir in eggs. Then, add bananas and stir well. Add to this 1/2 of flour mixture and 1/2 of milk. Stir until flour is mixed in. Add remaining flour mix and milk. Stir gently till all flour is mixed in. Do not over stir.
Pour this into a greased loaf pan. I like to put in half of the dough, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar over entire top, then add remaining dough, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the top before baking.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Check for done ness with toothpick after 50 minutes. Bread is done when toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf.
P.S. You know that at all future family gatherings, someone is going to say “Oh, I used sour cream” and wink, right?