In my young adult novel, The Demons Among Us (launching in September), the sixteen-year-old main character, Joy, is learning to cook. An early scene with Joy and her mom baking homemade sweet potato fries is loosely based on the times my daughter, Julia, and I share a kitchen. Even though she’s now married and lives in the next county, we still get together several times a month to whip up meals for our extended family. My heart is so full of happiness during these special hours.
I thought you might like to try some of the concoctions Julia and I create, so I spoke to her about sharing our recipes. She loved the idea and suggested that we create them together again and take photos. As an Instagram influencer (@jules.grove), she’ll post them on her social media platform, too.
We decided to start with our multi-generational Banana Bread recipe. My 84-year-old mother (Grammie to Julia) adapted the original recipe from a Betty Crocker cookbook more than fifty years ago. She said, “I love this recipe because it tastes more like cake than bread.” Though she no longer bakes, Mom would pour the batter into a bundt pan, contrary to the fictional Mrs. Crocker, who preferred loaf pans.
I continued Mom’s tradition of using the bundt pan, but revised the recipe by swapping out the shortening for butter. Mom liked to fold in chopped walnuts at the end, but I opt for pecans.
Julia further refined the recipe by adding creamy peanut butter and deleting the nuts. Her husband doesn’t like nuts in breads. But she uses a loaf pan, baking two at a time.
It’s fun when all three of us gather in the kitchen. It probably takes us twice as long to prepare meals because we spend so much time chatting. Have you noticed that conversations with the most significance take place in kitchens?
“May your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
I hope you enjoy our recipes. And if you bake one, please share a photo. I’d love to post it in my newsletter.