Banana bread.  Beautiful banana bread.  When done correctly, it is one of my favorites.  Moist, warm, and full of banana flavors.  It’s amazing how simple ingredients can turn into something quite wonderful and yet so tasty.  Many people will tell you what their favorite kind of banana bread is.  Pillsbury with walnuts, Betty Crocker with pecans, or even Sara Lee’s already made banana bread. Quick, simple, and just add liquid [often water].  But, what is IN the boxed banana bread mix?  And is it really that much faster to make?  Doing a quick Google search yields the following ingredients in the Pillsbury Banana Bread mix:

ENRICHED BLEACHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), SUGAR, DRIED BANANA, WHEAT STARCH, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL, DEXTROSE, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: BAKING POWDER (BAKING SODA, SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), DEFATTED WHEAT GERM, CORN STARCH, PROPYLENE GLYCOL MONOESTERS, SALT, CELLULOSE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, POLYSORBATE 60, NONFAT MILK, TBHQ AND CITRIC ACID (ANTIOXIDANTS

I have to be honest, I don’t know what half the ingredients are.   Although growing up on this kind of stuff, for the past 10 years, I am trying to wean myself off of the artificial ingredients out of my diet [this goes beyond box mixes].  When they have to use the word “natural” in their ingredients, that kind of scares me.  To make the Pillsbury banana bread, you put the mix in a bowl.  Add the water and mix.  Then put it in the loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes.  Total time is about 50-55 minutes.  I suppose that’s pretty quick to make banana bread, but still, what is “cellulose” doing in my banana mix box?  And what is “nonfat milk” doing outside the refrigerator?  “TBHQ”?  It doesn’t even have a vowel!!!

The picture is my homemade banana bread.  The ingredients are as followings:

UNBLEACHED FLOUR [MIX OF WHITE AND WHEAT], BAKING SODA, BAKING POWER, BUTTER, RIPE BANANAS, WHOLE MILK, BROWN SUGAR, ORANGE ZEST, NUTMEG, AND EGGS.

I know what these ingredients are.  But you’re probably asking, “But how LONG did it take you to make banana bread from scratch?  Like 3 hours?  Do you knead the dough until your arm falls off?”  Here’s what you do.  Melt the butter and put it with the eggs and sugar in a stand up mixer.  On low speed, alternate adding the flour and mashed bananas in three batches until just mixed.  Pour in loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes.  Total cook time is about 70 minutes.  I admit it takes longer to make this banana bread than the Pillsbury.  And even though I haven’t had the Pillsbury banana bread in over 15 years, I don’t have a doubt that in a taste test, Pillsbury doesn’t stand a chance.  No, my banana bread is not necessarily “good” for you – it has butter, sugar, and eggs.  You won’t lose weight eating it.  But these ingredients are already natural.  I don’t need to qualify them by using the word “natural” as an adjective.  There are no artificial flavors or ingredients.  So, while the Pillsbury Banana Bread instant mix may seem quick and simple, I implore people to cook/bake without artificial flavors.  Companies like Pillsbury and Sara Lee wants you to believe that pouring water into an already made mix is faster and easier.  Don’t believe the lie.  I know you can all do it.  I know we live busy lives, but we really have to try and carve out time in our day to really cook.  It doesn’t have to be French Laundry worthy.  It just has to be from the heart and with real ingredients.  We need to break our dependence on these instant/frozen meals where all they are are sugar and sodium ladened junk food.  We need to start fighting for our lives and it needs to happen now.


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