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The Untold Story of Banana Bread

by Annie Crockett 4 months ago in history

How much do you know?

Photo credit goes to Sally's Baking Addiction

The Untold Story of Banana Bread

Warning: Please read at your own risk. By the end of this essay you may have a huge craving for banana bread. Please read responsively. Now, how much do you know about banana bread? The moist loaf we all know and love has been through quite a lot throughout the years. From being introduced in the 1930s to where it stands today, banana bread has without a doubt undergone some intense changes. The sweet cake-like confection has become a comfort food for many, has experienced a splendid evolutionary process, and can even be a healthy treat with little modification.

Banana bread has recently become a popular “comfort food” for Americans. Since the beginning of 2020, the world has been experiencing a corona virus pandemic. Also known as COVID-19, the virus has quarantined millions of people to their homes. Not to mention, this has cost many their jobs. Despite all the turmoil, many are searching for things that bring them a sense of comfort and joy. In an article written by Jen Rose Smith, she states, “The easy-to-make treat has been the most searched for recipe across all US States for the last thirty days. Web searches soared 54% over the same period,” (Smith). Banana bread is popular among many because it is so easy to make. The simplest of recipes can call for as little as five ingredients, and it’s all stuff you already have inside your pantry. In addition, it’s a good way of getting rid of those bruised bananas that nobody will eat. In addition to that, The Wall Street Journal posted an article by Shan Li titled, “Forget the Sourdough. Everybody’s Baking Banana Bread.” Within her article, she states, “In the past month, banana bread beat out pancakes, brownies, and pizza as the No. 1 searched-for recipe in the U.S. and worldwide, according to Google.” It's hard to believe that banana bread outscored brownies! As a result, it further shows how banana bread became a comfort for quite so many people. After all Smith states, “If there’s an unofficial snack of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a sweet, soft loaf of home-baked banana bread,” (Smith). Whether it be an old family recipe or a new one you found online, banana bread is offering comfort to those who seek it.

Over the decades, banana bread recipes have evolved from being budget-friendly to being immensely health aware. It was during the Great Depression when banana bread experienced its big break. Even throwing away a severely bruised banana was completely off the table. It had to be used in some type of fashion. In addition, mass-producing baking soda and baking powder began in the early 1930s. On the behalf of the Great Depression, banana “quick bread” went mainstream. In PJ Hamel’s article, he states, “Reflecting the financial hardships encountered by many families, the loaf is lower in fat and sugar than most current recipes, as well as smaller.” An example of financial accommodation would be that in the 1940s, banana bread recipes tasted blander because of the addition buttermilk. Within the 1940s buttermilk was more common and cheaper than the regular milk we buy in grocery stores today. Similar to the 1940s, the traditional 1950s banana bread recipe wasn’t exactly the tastiest of creations. Banana bread finally hit a delicious high in the 1960s-1970s. A New York restaurant by the name of Moosewood set the bar high with the wonderful fragrance and flavor profile of their loaf. By the time the1980s rolled around, the decade of big hair and even bigger attitudes, was known for the abundance of new adventurous flavors, but sadly banana bread didn’t get the memo, using fifty percent whole wheat flour and a one and a half cups of butter! According to King Arthur’s Flour “Baking Sheet” in 1997, they printed a banana bread recipe described as “an enormous loaf with well-balanced flavors and good, moist texture,” (Hamel). Featuring nutmeg and cinnamon, no wonder it was so popular! The 2000s took a healthy turn, as Hamel put it, “Let’s call the past 17 years or so the Decade of the Diet. Atkins and South Beach kicked things off in 2003, and since then our regimes of choice have ranged from Paleo to raw to gluten-free. We’re determined to eat better – but for the most part, aren’t willing to give up food as pleasure.” Why should we sacrifice one or the other when it’s possible to obtain both? In today’s day and age, quality has been put above how much it’s going to cost. Healthier ingredients typically tend to cost more, and the majority of middle-class family’s main concern was how healthy something is for us versus the 1930s when it didn’t matter if it was healthy or not…at least you got to eat.

At first glance banana bread just looks like a bunch of unhealthy carbs and added sugars, but by modifying some of the ingredients, you can make this sweet treat quite healthy. Personally, I can relate to Hamel’s statement in the previous paragraph. Flavor profile means everything. So how can we make our favorite foods healthy? In an article by Jennifer Andrews she says, “Making your own at home is the ideal way to control ingredients for a healthy, delicious bread you can enjoy,” (Andrews). Rather than buying banana bread off of grocery store shelves or even your favorite bakery, create a loaf within your kitchen. This way you know exactly what you’ll be putting in your body. Not to mention, you could be saving money in the long run. While some may see substituting ingredients as too much work, Andrea Bodlt, a writer for Livestrong states that,

“If you do choose to add banana bread in occasionally, bake a healthier version by replacing half of the white flour with whole wheat and half of the oil with applesauce. In most recipes, you can also reduce the sugar by one-quarter to one-third with little impact on the bread's taste or texture, or use a low-calorie sugar substitute made especially for baking. If you use super mushy brown bananas, their natural sweetness may mean you can skip the sugar altogether,” (Boldt).

If you wanted to go the extra mile, instead of replacing half of white flour with whole wheat, get rid of white flour all together. And for those wanting to be adventurous, skip sugar all together and use extra bruised bananas. If you don’t want to go that far, substitute sugar for all-natural raw honey. Honey will help cut back on those refined sugars as well as through in some health benefits. With all that being said, what makes certain foods healthy or not, heavily depends on what it’s made of. Next time you’re craving a loaf of banana bread, consider making it yourself and having fun with it.

Throughout banana bread advancement into what we perceive it to be today, the quick bread is definitely within its prime. The savory good can accommodate almost everyone. This flexible and easy to alter splurge is bound to please most, from the pickiest of health-nuts, to junk food junkies. Regardless of what others may think, banana bread has been an uplifting memory from my childhood. I can still see my mom smiling ear to ear as she is so proud of what she has created. From a warmed-up slice for breakfast to having a slice accompanied by a cold glass of milk for dessert, banana bread will always have a special place in my heart. As I mentioned before, don’t be alarmed if you’re suddenly craving banana bread. It’s only your body’s natural response.

Banana Nut Bread Recipe

Ingredients: 1/3 cup of solid Crisco or olive oil,

1/2 cup of sugar or raw honey,

2 eggs,

1 and 3/4 cup of white flour or whole wheat flour,

1 teaspoon of baking powder,

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda,

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, and

1 cup mashed bananas (the browner the better).

Directions: Once you have preheated your oven to 350 degrees, cream together your choice of oil and sweetener. Once you have reached a creamy spreadable consistency, add eggs, and beat until everything is well incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together all of your dry ingredients, and then add to you wet mixture slowly, alternating between dry ingredients and the mashed bananas. Once the wet and dry ingredients have been well combined, stir in the walnuts with a silicone utensil. Then, pour the heavenly mixture into a well-greased 9”x 5”x 3” loaf pan, and bake for 45-50 minutes or until done. Finally, remove your creation from its pan and set aside to let cool. Once your confection has reached your preferred temperature, carefully slice and enjoy alongside your favorite comforting beverage!

Works Cited

Andrews, Jennifer. “What Are the Health Benefits of Banana Bread?” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, www.livestrong.com/article/268303-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-banana-bread/.

In an article published by Livestrong, the writer, Jennifer Andrews talks about the health benefits of banana bread and how to modify a not so healthy recipe into a “health bomb.” Andrews article is primarily focused to inform those who are making a conscious effort to eat clean without missing out on their favorite indulgences. Along with Andrews specialty in writing about health, she also has a Master of Science in physical therapy as well as a Bachelor’s in kinesiology. Andrews article is plenty useful to my essay because within her essay she gives substitutes and tells you have healthy the substitutes are. Being that part of my essay is about how to make a healthy version on banana bread, her article is a perfect contribution.

Boldt, Andrea. “Is Banana-Nut Bread Bad for Weight Loss?” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, www.livestrong.com/article/445839-is-banana-nut-bread-bad-for-weight-loss/.

Within another article posted by Livestrong, writer, Andrea Boldt writes about whether banana bread is good or bad for weight loss. In her article, she talks about how nutritious your typical banana bread recipe may be. While the quick bread is calorie dense, it is ok from time to time, but only in moderation. Boldt’s writing is mainly focused towards those who are currently dieting and are trying to find good snacks for their “cheat days” as a reward for their hard work. In addition to that, Boldt’s informative article is almost crucial to my essay as her work backs up my explanation that with modification and moderation anything can be made healthy. I would consider Boldt’s work to be reliable mostly because she has multiple certifications in holistic and wellness nutrition.

Hamel, PJ. “A Short History of Banana Bread.” King Arthur Flour, 23 Feb. 2017, www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2017/02/23/short-history-of-banana-bread.

In an article by PJ Hamel, whom graduated from Brown University and started working for King Author Flour in 1990. She goes more in depth with banana bread history. Starting from the 1930s, Hamel explains how the recipe changed throughout the decades and have the changes effected the banana bread flavors. Published by King Arthur Flour, Hamel’s work is meant to inform her readers and anyone who loves recipe and food history would thoroughly enjoy reading her article. Hamel’s writing is vital to my essay because of her in-depth research of banana bread history. Being that a large portion of my writing is based on the famous recipes upbringing, “A Short History of Banana Bread” is perfect.

Li, Shan. “Forget the Sourdough. Everybody's Baking Banana Bread.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 30 Apr. 2020, www.wsj.com/articles/forget-baking-sourdough-everybodys-making-banana-bread-11588255498.

Shan Li a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, has written an article about banana breads new boost within web searches. Li’s work is meant to inform those about how many are reaching for bananas in grocery stores to make a loaf of their beloved comfort food. Within her article she mentions that according to google, banana bread outscored brownies as well as pizza. Now in my opinion, that is pretty impressive. Li’s article is useful to my essay because her information further backs up the claims I make. Her audience is forced towards those who like statistics and enjoys knowing why people do what they do during a rough time period.

Smith, Jen Rose. “Banana Bread Is Having a Moment.” CNN, Cable News Network, 2 May 2020, www.cnn.com/2020/05/02/health/banana-bread-pandemic-baking-wellness-trnd/index.html.

The material within the article is written by Jen Rose. Even though she is a freelance writer now, she was once a pastry chef. The article can be found on a well-known website called CNN. Her work is meant to inform CNN readers about banana bread history as well as the drastic surge in web searches looking for banana bread recipes during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Smith is passionate about how banana bread is an American comfort food due to recent online searches. The mental health benefits from stepping into the kitchen and reaching for the banana bread recipe that has been passed down from generations fuels Smith’s enthusiasm. The article is offering a sense of comfort for those who are seeking it in these unfortunate times through delicious bread. In conclusion, Smith’s writing will help me further make my point that banana bread will bring some comfort to those who seek it. Whether it is the sweet aroma of the delicious treat or how flavorful and moist the bread feels, as you take a long awaiting bite of your creation, you will smile in satisfaction because this is exactly what you have been waiting for.

Annie Crockett
Annie Crockett
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Annie Crockett

Hello, I am a full time college student who loves to write and all things science, cooking, crochet, knitting, and horses!

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