Often when I eat a banana I remember a trip that my sister and I took to Thailand when we were young. I was 20 and my sister was 16…and our parents told us that we really needed to see Bangkok. My parents were living in Saudi Arabia at the time, where my father was working as a Civil Engineer. Traveling throughout the world was a common practice among the families of ex-pats in Saudi, so sending two young girls/women alone to Bangkok seemed like a perfectly normal thing to do.
Perfectly normal. Fly from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain, then have a very upsetting experience with two young, machine gun packing Bahrain airport security guards who have figured that you and your sister are traveling alone and force you to hand over your passports and won’t let you board your plane until you kiss them and then they threaten the man who sees your predicament and tries to help you. At the last possible minute you grab your passport away from the guard, push him hard and run like the terrified crazy person that you are towards the flight attendant who is frantically yelling “run” and motioning you towards her while she is pulling the plane door closed and manages to slam it shut just after you cross the threshold thereby separating you from the guard who has regained his balance and is pursuing you with his trusty machine gun, and then you calmly take your seat to fly from Bahrain to Bangkok. (Again, all perfectly normal.)
After some long hours of flying, you get off the plane in Bangkok, hand over your passport to a local tour guide who promises to take good care of both it and you for the five days you’ll be on your own in a city where you don’t speak the language. Oh, and here, let’s get you booked on some tours and now you need to get in this van and you will be taken to your hotel and don’t worry about the fact that you are in a foreign country with no passport or other ID. (And forget about cell phones and the internet because they didn’t exist at that time!!!!!!!) And be ready at 8:00 tomorrow morning to go on your first tour…a boat ride up a river.
While on the river tour, which is very interesting, a boy comes swimming up to your boat carrying bananas and the tour guide buys a few bunches of bananas from the boy, and then proceeds to give everyone on the tour their very own, honest to goodness, fresh banana and you wonder if the banana is going to cost extra or if it is a part of the tour as your brain is registering the fact that this banana tastes pretty much like every other banana you have ever eaten.
And that is why eating a banana reminds me of Thailand.
I eat several bananas each week and I’ve become picky in my choice of bananas. They have to be organic and yellow with a very slight tinge of green just at the stem. I don’t usually notice a difference in the flavors of organic fruits and vegetables over conventionally grown produce, but I truly find organic bananas to be sweeter and more flavorful.
Despite the fact that I like organic bananas, I honestly do not believe that they will make a pronounced flavor difference in banana bread. Nope.
The number one banana factor which does impact flavor in banana bread is the ripeness of the bananas. I like for the bananas to have a high brown to yellow ratio. In other words, more brown than yellow. The bananas are definitely past their prime for eating, but they are terrific all mashed up in banana bread. They are terrific in this Sour Cream Cinnamon Banana Bread, of course, but they are also sensational in Brown Butter Banana Bread or a Fruit Smoothie.
I used to have a sour cream banana bread recipe on this blog, but when I made the bread recently, I found it to be disappointing. 🙁 Additionally, the picture I posted with the recipe was phenomenally ugly. It was embarrassing to have a bad recipe and a bad picture. However, most of my pictures are bad from my early days of blogging. Although my present photography is not exceptional, it is a far cry better than when I first started blogging.
At any rate, I felt driven to find a more flavorful and reliable recipe than the first recipe I presented here. I looked at many different recipes and narrowed my selections to three recipes to try. It was a banana bread frenzy at my house on baking day. The taste testing portion went on over a period of two days and I was honestly surprised to find a distinctive flavor difference between the breads. The adaptations in each recipe were the same: white and brown sugars, extra vanilla and the addition of cinnamon if the recipe did not already contain it.
I am very pleased with the resultant Sour Cream Cinnamon Banana Bread recipe presented here. I hope that you, too, will enjoy it.