(Banana) Bread: The AtoZ April Challenge

a-zchallengeThe original title of this post was beginnings, but that only lasted for about an hour before its true identity was revealed in my mind.

This post truly is about banana bread, but it’s also about bread more generally–homemade bread, bread made by my husband, Dave. Dave has been using bread machines for many years to turn out amazing loaves of bread. He is known by family and friends (and even some convention goers) late 80’s and early 90’s.

It started back several years ago, when he attended SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) conventions. With the wonderful feasts prepared at those things, Dave really enjoyed the homemade bread. He figured he could make it himself. He made it periodically, the old-fashioned way. At some point between his time in the army and his time in college, he bought his parents a bread machine. Life took him away from his native Iowa to Missouri, where he lived for several years. On one of his trips home, he found that his parents never used the bread machine, and so he reclaimed it and starting experimenting with making his own bread. He was a big hit with his roommates.

His interest in conventions shifted to Klingon (think Star-Trek) conventions. Over a few years time, he attended somewhere between 6-10 of these two- to four-day conventions. When he packed, he also included two things: a coffee maker and–did you guess?–his bread machine. At each of the conventions he attended, he would make a couple loaves of bread each day for his friends. He also made coffee to go along with it. Now, I have to tell you something interesting about the coffee machine. Dave doesn’t drink coffee. He simply got the machine and all the supplies so that he could make it for his friends. As you might imagine, he built up a bit of a reputation when he went to conventions.

When Dave and I met and later married, homemade bread made him a big hit with me as well. But when we moved to Taiwan, we no longer had a bread machine. We did have a western style oven in our kitchen. (One of the reasons I fell in love with this apartment–its large, highly functional kitchen. During our first year in Taiwan, Dave made dough a few times, but we didn’t have the right pans for backing bread, but we had some awesome pizzas. But it was difficult on his wrists. So when he returned to the US after his first year here, he went to the thrift stores and came back with a bread machine. Ingredients are a little different here, but he has shopped the day markets, the night markets, the various grocery stores, the DIY specialty stores, and over time has located exactly what he needs to turn out amazing loaves of whole wheat bread with flax seed, sesame seed, oatmeal, and other awesome stuff. It’s not only a staple for us at home, but it is a regular feature of any meal where we have guests. He also takes it into work to a couple of our friends.

This is where the banana part of the bread comes in. He doesn’t make it in a bread machine, but it has become one of his specialties. While he puts some amazing ingredients in it, like oatmeal. I can do without the extra seeds and the raisins, but if he makes anything too whacky, he will make a plain(er) batch for me. As you might imagine, he has once again built up quite a following–especially in my office, where people are very fond of the portions he brings in. And if you really want to see people go nuts, give them some of his chocolate banana bread, made with cocoa powder and (if you’re lucky) chocolate chips. Awesome!

I think you can see why today’s post had to be about bread. I thought about saving the coffee part of his convention story for tomorrow for the letter C, but I’ll just tell you an additional little coffee fact today. I told you that he made coffee at the conventions for his friends who liked it. What you don’t know is that he makes coffee for me every day now, and has the entire time we’ve been together. He’s got it down to a science. But unlike the convention days where he brought his coffee and the machine and went to it, there have been many periods of time (particularly when we were in the US) when he would actually grind the beans each day. I’m pretty lucky! His last trip to the US yielded a bean grinder, so maybe next time we make a coffee purchase we will get some coffee Beans–another B word for today.

And now for a fun: The Banana Song (about half way through the video below)! Enjoy!