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Banana bread [Oct. 3rd, 2011|07:35 am]
This weekend I made banana bread, mostly for the sake of getting the frozen black bananas out of the freezer.

I used a recipe from Cook's Illustrated. I love Cook's Illustrated, because it's very science-y. They start off by specifying "we wanted a really [good/quick/easy] recipe for Foo, which has characteristics X, Y, and Z." And then there's a little story about "first we tried this, and it was terrible. And then we tried this other thing, which had this effect, and that was no good either." And eventually the author figures out experimentally which parameters to tweak in which direction, and huzzah! Improved recipe.

My one complaint about it is that sometimes they go overboard with assuming you're cooking in a vacuum. Like, "Here's a trifle recipe. Trifle originated as a way to use up leftover cake when it got stale, so first we'll bake a cake, and then we'll artificially staleify it so you can make trifle!" And I'm all, but what if I already HAVE stale cake? This is why I'm looking at trifle recipes in the first place!

In this case, it's old frozen bananas. The article is all "we found this great trick using frozen bananas, but what if you want to make banana bread and don't have bananas in the freezer?" Dood. That is the entire POINT of banana bread. To get the bananas out of the freezer, where you put them when they got too ripe to eat plain. If I don't have bananas in the freezer? I don't want to make banana bread!

Happily, it's generally not hard to infer what the recipe would look like without those steps, so now I have a banana-free freezer and two loaves of pretty good banana bread.

[User Picture]From: danthered
2011-10-03 07:25 pm (UTC)
I generally like CI for the food-science reasons as well as their generally dependable product reviews in which the most costly item doesn't necessarily win. However, the recommendations in their peanut butter comparo were utterly inexcusable and cause me to lose a great deal of respect for them. They recommended Skippy or Jif (I don't recall which), which is not peanut butter; it's brown Crisco with sugar. They didn't bother testing any of the good quality national real peanut butter (Adam's, for instance), and they didn't bother buying a pound of peanuts and tossing them in the food processor for 90 seconds, which makes a highly superior, very cost-effective product. WTF? Also, I could do without the faux-folksy guns-'n'-pickup-trucks editorial at the start of each issue, which is naught but window dressing. In the '80s, it was faux-yuppy editorials at the start of each issue. Just present the food science and thoughtful reviews and quit trying to sell me a lifestyle, please and thank you.
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