I wasn't in love with Jane Kramer before I read her book The Reporter's Kitchen, but I am now. And while I am so definitely the target demographic of this collection of essays that they might as well shelve it under a picture of my face, but I think there's value in this book even for people who aren't.
One of my favorite moments in the sometimes rambling exploration of Kramer's cooking habits was the discussion of how she compares different versions of the same recipe to yield her version of perfection. This is a real struggle I have with banana bread. Let me tell you people: there is no human on earth who makes banana bread like my Mammaw. She's a magical baker to begin with, but this banana bread could stop wars. The recipe comes, like most magical ones do in my experience, from an old cook book that is bound together by sheer willpower (and in this case, a hefty dose of Steelers duck tape).
As many times as I've tried to turn out a loaf like she does, either by using this recipe or some other one I've wrangled from the depths of the internet, I've only gotten close a few times. In fact, for a significant chunk of college, I abandoned her recipe completely in favor of a gooey chocolate banana bread with chocolate chips that I named after one of my best friends and taste-testers. And while that recipe has its own merits, like coercing people to be friends with me by force feeding them, at the end of the day, this recipe is the one I crave and the one I'll keep baking with abandon in hopes of finally making banana bread as well as she does.
In other mysteries of the world, there's big news coming down the pike. Check early next week for an update that I promise is relevant to cooking, baking, reading, photographing food and books, and more.