Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. The change in the air from warm and humid to crisp and dry . . . the beauty of the leaves putting on their best, most colorful show before they flutter to the ground . . . the aroma of those fallen leaves, dusty and earthy.
And the aroma of homemade banana bread.
When I was a kid living in rural New York, my mother was a homemaker, with plenty of time to cook and bake. She also loved it. In the fall, when she could crank open the windows to disperse the heat from the oven in our tiny field-stone house, her baking let all the neighborhood know what was in the oven. After my younger brother and I climbed down off the bus and made our way up the steep, curving driveway toward our home, we knew before we got to the door what treat awaited us there.
In the fall, besides yummy apple and pumpkin pies, my mother’s go-to recipe was for banana bread. Homemade, of course, from bananas that had gone nearly to black. We’d storm through the door and clamor for a piece, even though suppertime was imminent.
When the fall leaves scuttle across the ground and the days grow shorter, I’m reminded of a time in my life when the biggest thrill of the day was a piece of homemade banana bread, warm, slathered with butter.
Sadly, after several decades and numerous moves across five states, Mama’s recipe for banana bread has been lost. I’ve found a nearly-as-good substitute, though. You should give it a try – as long as the bananas are good and ripe. Almost rotten.
The link to the recipe (on AllRecipes.com) is here. (My only suggestion would be to add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, for those who enjoy a spicier bread.)
I also wrote a essay about this time in my life, one that was sadly cut from the final edition of my memoir. I’m offering it to my Soulmates as a harvest offering. You can find it on my website here: https://clairegem.com/autumn-reflections
Enjoy the season. Enjoy your family while you still can. And never, ever let old traditions dry up and blow away like autumn leaves.