Banana bread sucks . . . Happy Thanksgiving!

Damn you, Thanksgiving quick breads. Every year my mom asks me to bring the breads. And every year I try to make zucchini bread or cranberry yogurt bread or some such. I try to look for recipes that aren't to leaden or sweet, but are also easy enough to make on a work night and zip into a bag to travel back to my parent's house in PA.

I want, of course, to bring something nice or at least decent. I feel like I'm somewhat accomplished in the kitchen, but I can never get these "quick breads" right. What am I doing wrong?

This year I thought I had the problem licked: found a good recipe on Martha's site, much better than the Big Bird (Hippie, 1970's-style All Whole Wheat Flour) Banana bread I made a few years back. It was much easier to make two loaves of the same flavor. I happened to have flax seed meal on hand (from when we got it as gift of sorts when we went to see the Martha Show last spring. Plus I remembered to buy bananas a week ahead so they would be over-ripe enough for banana bread.

I took the two loaves out of the oven about an hour ago. I tested them with a strand of dried spaghetti to make sure they were cooked all the way through. They've been on a rack cooling and I just started to wrap them up and head to bed. Everything seemed great. I even smiled to myself -- this year, I've got this mini-melo-drama over making quick breads licked.

Not so fast.

One of the loaves seems perfect. When I started to wrap the second loaf of banana bread, I heard this gushing sound. I looked down to see a crack forming across the tip of the loaf. The center of the second loaf was still doughy, nearly raw.

Don't tell anyone, but I'm re-pre-heating the oven now. I'm going to just chuck that bad banana bread back in the oven for 10 or 15 minutes while I'm cleaning up from the cranberry sauce and cranberry relish I made. See if that firms up the middle of it good enough.

I'm also finishing up my two kids of cranberries. I couldn't decided what kind I wanted to make. I'd always wanted to try cooking cranberries, listening them pop open was fun. But I think my family likes the cranberry relish where you just whiz up cranberries and an orange, rind and all, in the food processor.

Both the cranberry dishes seems good and one of the loaves of banana bread is good. I guess three out of four ain't bad.


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