Even though the internet is my mecca for recipe-finding, I have amassed quite a few cookbooks over the past few years.
Some were inherited from my mom, who finally admitted that she’ll never use them, some I received as gifts when I began to show an active interest in the kitchen and there are a few that I have actually purchased on my own.
Of all the books and cooking magazines lining the shelves in the breakfast nook in my apartment (and believe me, there are piles. “I know I’ll make that someday, so I better keep this”).
The Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook is chock-full of classic recipes.
Most of them are fairly basic, so I can doctor them a little to add my own twist on the comforting soups and breads and cookies that remind me of watching my mother browse my grandmother’s big brown recipe box.
There are also plenty of photos and instructions for skills that I’ve yet to master: making pastry dough, roasting chickens and stuffing pork loin.
I love the nostalgic feel of the photos in the book.
A far cry from the flashy, modern food photograph we’re used to today, but charming nonetheless.
Whenever I’m in the mood to make bread, I typically look to banana bread as an easy option.
- ¼ cup shortening
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 well beaten egg
- 1 cup bran (I used All Bran Buds cereal)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1½ cups mashed banana
- 1½ cups sifted enriched flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts but if I'd had pecans I would have used those instead)
- Cream shortening and sugar; add egg, then bran and mix thoroughly.
- Combine water and bananas; add alternately with sifted dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly; add vanilla and nuts.
- Bake in a paper-lined loaf pan in a moderate oven (350F) for about one hour. Cool before slicing,