Cooking in the Time of Covid-19: Baking an Old Favourite from the Naparima Girls School Cook Book.

You know a recipe is a well loved tradition in your family when the page of the cookbook you are using is stained  and kind of crispy and a little yellowed.

  I am not sure if this is still a thing, with technology being so easy but I don’t know a Trini cook who does not own a Naparima Girls High School Cookbook. I have the edition with the bright pink cover and I know there was another fancier edition since then but I am in love with the one I have so I never felt the need to upgrade.

    Whenever I doubt myself about a recipe and I can’t get a hold of my mother, I refer to this book. Before the internet and when the only way to get anything on line was by e mail, I referred to this book. When the kids were toddlers and I wanted to cook for them using recipes from home, I used this book. I remember a lentil pie I made for Adam and then again for Logan when they had those little peg teeth and I was so happy they devoured it. I had large monster babies, both 10 lbs plus at birth and I wanted them to develop a taste for my heritage cuisine.This book, especially in the middle of winter, and especially when I was far away from my Toronto based family, gave me comfort and pride and confidence to cook some dishes from my homeland that I never tried make.  Nothing makes an expat feel happier and less lonely than something from their mother country that they can eat. And so, I cooked and these toddlers grew up and from the moment they started school, theytook their mother’s cooking to school in the array of textures and colours, rarely taking sandwiches and never taking anything from a can to school in their lunch boxes.

Tonight I realized with all this cooking, I did not yet make a banana bread. I made cookies (from the packaged dough) and pies (with filling from the can and the ready-made pie shells) but not banana bread. I will begin by telling you I prefer cooking to baking. I don’t have the precision or patience for baking and will happy refer anyone to my friend Ronnie, or Leslie and even my husband Tom, when it comes to information on baked goods but I do enjoy making my Naparima Girls banana bread. So let’s begin.

Here are the ingredients:

And here is the method:

I am planning to do the banana bread muffin style. Now, bear in mind I mentioned I am an impatient baker and over the years I have found some shortcuts in the mixing of the ingredients and baking time – hence the muffins as opposed to prepping a loaf pan for a solid loaf. I do suggest you follow the recipe for best results but what I have done does work. You will see that I put the mashed bananas and eggs, salt, sugar ( I use brown sugar)  and baking soda and baking powder (my addition 1 teaspoon) in a bowl.

         

I added the lime juice and zest (my addition as I like to use all of an ingredient if I can) and the milk and fold it all in. I also omit nuts, partly because I did not have any that would work and I usually add a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon because I love the taste.

         

I use 1/2 cup of vegetable oil instead of butter and really mix it in. Once the batter is all blended (I like to blend by hand but feel free to use an electronic mixer)pour it into the papered muffin tins place into an oven pre-heated to 350 F and bake for about 45 mins. Separating the batter into muffins allows them to bake in less than an hour so check them during the baking process so they don’t burn.

     

And there you have it, plus a pumpkin pie that Logan was craving. Give this recipe a try and enjoy for breakfast or lunch or a snack warmed with melted butter or jam of your choice. Stay Home. Stay safe. Try new recipes. Teach your kid to cook. ~Daniella and family.

 

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