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Grace Cho

COVID-19 has pushed us to change and adapt to our circumstances, from remote learning, masks, staying inside, and much more. Out of these challenges, our dependence on food has become much more apparent; it is a source of health, a way to nourish, an act of creation, a thread to connect us to others despite the separation we find ourselves in.


My own kitchen has been a nonstop flurry of dishes, hot off the stove and out of the oven. While the pandemic has cast a lingering uncertainty over us, I’ve found a sense of control and productivity in cooking. Relishing each bite of the food I make, I am healed and reinvigorated by taking delight in the simple act of eating.


Whether you’re a seasoned chef, or someone who burns water, consider taking the time to make something you enjoy, not just to eat. In light of limited access to groceries, food shortages, and other issues, I am sharing a delicious recipe for banana bread that uses common, affordable pantry and grocery ingredients. It’s so easy to make, you don’t even need a mixer! Banana bread is a great way to avoid food waste and make use of overripe bananas that are nearly brown. This recipe is very adaptable as well, as you can change it up by adding ingredients based on your preferences, like a handful of chocolate chips or chopped walnuts. Serve a slice with some coffee in the morning, or munch on some for a midnight snack!


Beloved Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed well (approximately 2 cups mashed)

  • ½ cup of sugar (white or brown)

  • 1 egg

  • ¼ cup melted butter or vegetable oil

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ tsp baking soda

  • ½ tsp baking powder (if none, then substitute with additional ½ tsp baking soda)

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top

  • Optional: ¼ cup rolled oats to sprinkle on top, and handful of ingredients according to your preferences - chocolate chips, chopped nuts, Nutella, coconut, dried fruits, etc.


Step 1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit, and grease a loaf pan measuring 9x5 inches with butter or oil. (Disposable aluminum loaf pans are available for purchase at most grocery stores.)


Step 2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: bananas, sugar, egg, and butter/oil. In another medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and the optional mix-ins if using.


Step 3. Stir the flour mixture into the banana batter, until just mixed. Be careful not to overmix, as stirring the batter creates more gluten strands, and overmixing will result in a denser banana bread. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan.


Step 4. If using, sprinkle the oats and the remaining cinnamon over the top of the loaf pan.


Step 5. Bake the loaf in the oven for about an hour. Check to see that it has fully baked after 60 minutes by removing from the oven and inserting a toothpick through the center of the banana bread. If the toothpick comes out clean, the loaf is finished baking.

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