Posted by: downtothesea | March 7, 2010

Grandma Erikson’s Banana Bread

Today’s writing prompt for Woman’s History Month, geneablog-style, asks bloggers to share a favorite family recipe.

My Grammy Erikson, my mother’s mother, wasted absolutely NOTHING.  Her house was neat as a pin, mind you, but she never threw away something she could use again.  I can still remember the cache of wrapping paper she kept in the TV room closet, some of it no more than six inches wide.  Jelly jars did double-duty as drinking glasses.  She had even fashioned herself a whole set of “Tupperware” using a variety of plastic food tubs and jars.

As the third daughter of seven born to Swedish immigrants Karl and Anna Johnson, and the first of their children to be born in America, my grandmother learned practical frugality at an early age.  She made her own clothing, shopped sales in the department stores like a whiz, and learned to cook without ever, EVER wasting food.

This recipe reflects her domestic philosophy exactly;  it uses overripe bananas, the ones that are black and goopy on the inside and that no one in their right mind enjoys eating, and it features no other “fancy” ingredients.  I can just about guarantee you have the makings for this bread, perhaps save the bananas, in your cupboard and fridge right now.  This recipe can also be fancied up quite easily, with the addition of chocolate chips, dried cranberries, walnuts, what have you.  Just add the “goodies” right into the batter.  Enjoy!

Grammy Erikson’s Banana Bread

2-3 overripe bananas, mashed until liquid

2 eggs beaten light

2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

optional:  2 tbs butter (melted)

OVEN:  350 degrees

1.  Blend dry ingredients

2.  Add wet ingredients

3.  Pour into buttered cake pan or loaf pan

4.  Bake 1 hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean

My Grampa and Grammy Erikson and me, in their kitchen in Worcester, MA, circa 1979



  1. And the banana bread was really good, I’ll bet. I’d like to try it with the cranberries, myself. Super photo! A Treasure, as well.

    Keep these ancestor stories coming!

    Bill 😉
    Author of “13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories”

  2. Sounds like a yummy recipe. I especially like the photo. It is great of all three of you!!

  3. Banana bread – one of my very favourite things – with walnuts, please. Great memories and what a nice photograph of you three in the kitchen.

  4. This recipe is EXACTLY like my Nana’s recipe. I grew up in Holden, right next door to Worcester, but Nana was from Hamilton. Perhaps it’s a generational thing?

    • Heather, did you know I was born in Worcester but raised in Hamilton? Small, small world!!!

      I wonder if our grandmothers learned the recipe from a popular book or magazine?

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