By Cindy Walker Burton

Dappled ripe bananas, sugar, flour, butter, vanilla, baking powder, eggs, chopped walnuts and a few secret ingredients. Mix them together and what do you get? A recipe for mighty tasty banana bread and a sure fire cure for whatever is ailing you. Yes, banana bread has curative powers. When I resided in Florida for nearly 30 years, receiving homemade banana bread loaves from my mother was a taste of home lovingly crafted by hand and heart. The smile on my face was the first indication that the magic of her banana bread was working and the taste was a delicious reminder of home sweet home. Benefit number one: Love in a loaf.

Benefit number two is simplicity. For “cooking challenged” folks like me, it is a culinary breeze to squash the bananas to a pulp, mix ingredients, pour the gooey mixture into a loaf pan and bake. Simple to prepare and simply delicious!

The third benefit is that banana bread provides year-round goodness: it is not limited to any particular season. Its ingredients are limited only by your imagination. Autumn calls for a bit of allspice, nutmeg or cinnamon to the mix. Cranberries add a festive touch for winter. Spring is perfect for adding raisins and summer banana bread is tastier with fruity jam or a smear of honey.

The fourth, and much overlooked benefit, is history. Yes, when you make banana bread, you’re replicating a tasty piece of history dating back to the Greeks around the 4th century B.C. A Greek philosopher described the banana plant in a botany book, and they were already baking bread with bananas, spices, honey, and fruit way back then.

Love in a loaf, simplicity, year round goodness, delicious history. Those are the benefits of banana bread. Ready. Set. Bake!