The best of everything comes from Hawaii.
I am convinced. Yes, including banana bread. I’ll get to that.
Now, I may be a bit biased, considering that my entire family is there. Parents, grandparents born and raised. The islands hold my heart. Growing up, my parents would send my sister and I to stay with our grandparents on Kauai for the entire summer. That was back when summers lasted three whole months, and school didn’t start until after Labor Day! We had 3 whole months to hang out with our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Mornings helping Alita (my grandma) hang the laundry on the line, days spent at the beach, afternoons in the backyard with Papa mowing the lawn or watering orchids in the hothouse, evenings sitting in the house watching the geckos climb the screens outside. (We named them Jack and Jill. All of them. They were all Jack and Jill…for years!)
Alita was an incredible cook. ( I say was because she doesn’t cook anymore. Hasn’t in a few years unfortunately…) She’s Puerto Rican and dang, the food she’d make for everything and anything! Every event was centered around the food. In the very best way!
Her kitchen holds so many memories for us.
This past summer, I went with my mom back to Kauai to help her organize my grandparents house, since Alita was moving into a nursing home. Papa is still living in the house, but it was time for a purge. Really isn’t anytime a good time for a purge?
So, as Mom and I went through cabinets and cleaned shelves, we came across baking pans Alita had used for baking banana bread. I know they are just loaf pans, but they hold memories for us.
My mom told stories about her childhood and family as we were going through baking pans, and stock pots and mixing bowls. Stories of family parties, Sunday dinners, and school potlucks. About how whenever there was an event, Alita was always cooking something.
Then when we moved outside to clean out a bookshelf, we came across shelves and shelves of cookbooks.
Cookbooks that we remembered Alita taking out to use. I started to look through them and found pages with Alita’s handwriting. Recipes where she wrote out detailed instructions on how to triple the recipe for a crowd, or change the temperature to bake. Grease stained pages of recipes she used over and over again.
I took those cookbooks.
I also took the loaf pans. This Banana Bread recipe was the first one I baked from one of those cookbooks, in those loaf pans. The cookbook itself is from 1960. It and the pans, survived at least 2 hurricanes, and years and years of use. I love the knife cuts in the pans. I love the stained pages in the book. It is missing it’s cover, and Alita had written in some of the margins. I treasure this book.
This Banana Bread is pretty darned good, too.
Like I said, The best things come from Hawaii. Including Banana Bread.