A few weeks ago, I talked to Gloria Badertscher Miller, my husband’s cousin, about her memories of the Badertscher family. She talked about a cookbook with hand written recipes in the back, and about a planned visit to the Kidron-Sonnenberg Heritage Center, where she would obtain some family memoir books for me. And then on June 29, I learned that Gloria had died. But because of her warm spirit and open heart, Gloria will live on with those who knew her. I am so happy to welcome back Ken’s sister Kay who had also recently visited with Gloria, and shares this memory.
By Kay Badertscher Bass
“Don’t touch those ripe bananas,” I exclaimed in a stern tone to my husband. Great plans awaited those black beauties.
A rare cool front was predicted for our area of Texas in mid-July with much needed rain. On top of that was the timing of its arrival – a weekend. It was time to bake banana bread using a recipe from my recently deceased cousin, Gloria Badertscher Miller (1927-2013). After all, this recipes has been tested by four generations.
As the skies remained overcast and rain gently began to fall, I reminisced about my last visit with my precious cousin. My heart overflowed with her shared wisdom, humor and family stories. Meanwhile, the house began to fill with the delicious aroma of baking bread.
Gloria received the recipe from her mother, Gertrude Steiner Badertscher (1905-1988). Gertrude was married to Uncle Monroe, my father’s older brother. I always looked forward to visits at their home in Killbuck, Ohio. Uncle Monroe always had a good story to share coupled with his hearty laughter, but it was Aunt Gertrude’s kitchen creations that excited me most.
Gertrude and her daughter Gloria shared a common personality of true ladylike manners, impeccable taste and exceptional culinary skills. At the yearly Badertscher reunions I would eagerly await Gertrude’s and Gloria’s arrivals, taking mental notes of which dishes they prepared and eagerly awaiting my first delicious bite.
During our last visit in Walnut Creek, Ohio, Gloria shared with me her first cookbook, a thick, dark green vintage cookbook which belonged to her Mother. Gloria began her culinary craftsmanship at the early age of eight by tackling a recipe from that cookbook. A recipe for peanut butter cookies was not the easiest, but with a little help and encouragement from her Mother she was able to mix and conquer.
In the back of the book, among hand-written recipes, was one passed on by Gertrude for banana bread. When she became a mother, living in Millersburg Ohio, Gloria made it for her sons. The banana bread recipe was Gloria’s grandson, John Miller’s, favorite. Four generations–one recipe.
Gloria also shared a little secret related to her banana bread recipe: freeze the bananas. She claimed the freezing process added extra moisture to the recipe. After trying her suggestion, I must concur.
Because John does not like nuts she would omit them from the recipe. I’ve made the bread with and without nuts and it is delicious either way.
Gertrude’s Banana Bread
- 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 1/2 teaspoon soda
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup chopped nuts – optional
- Mix all of the above ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake in a slow oven (325 degrees F.) for 1 hour or until a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Thanks, Kay, for sharing this family recipe and your memories of Gloria.