Banana Bread and Hucking

One of our customers, Harriett Cowan, is one of my favorite customers to speak with.  She is so lively and vibrant.  She is a retired teacher, and has lots and lots of stories to share.  I could stay on the phone with her for hours, in fact, I have!  Last month, Greg Wagner, our Vice-President, and David Seidenberger, our Service Manager, met with Mrs. Cowan on her lawn to address some of her concerns.  She invited them in and sent them home with a loaf of her banana nut bread.  I was out of town the week she sent it, but I heard about it from all of the girls in the office.  I knew about her banana nut bread, because she had invited me over before and promised a loaf of bread when I came.  I still haven’t made a trip to visit her, but plan to do so soon.
I was so impressed with her gesture and wanted to return the favor, so I chose to feature her recipe in our newsletter.  She gets a free lawn application in return.   I called her yesterday to get the recipe from her.  She also explained hucking to me.  Mrs. Cowan says public restrooms used to have a roll of real towels on a spool for their patrons.  The spools would turn the huck toweling so that you had a fresh, dry section to dry your hands on.  A laundry man would come by and replace the towels on a regular schedule.  Mrs. Cowan purchases the  fabric and makes her own huck toweling.  We talked for over an hour and she gave me more than one recipe.  I’ve listed a few of them below.
Banana Nut Bread
Cream together 1 cup of sugar and a stick of butter (1/2 cup).  Mash three large bananas and add to mixture.  Cream together well.  Add 2 eggs and beat.  Add 2 cups of all-purpose flour.  Add one teaspoon of baking soda.  Add ¾ to 1 cup of chopped nuts (Mrs. Cowan uses pecans).  Mix all ingredients together well.
Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan.  Cook for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
*If you are using a glass pan, lower temperature to 325 degrees.
Civil War Dumplings
2 cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons of salt
½ cup of milk
Yellow food coloring
1 teaspoon of shortening
Mix all ingredients together.  The yellow food coloring is to add some richness to the color per Mrs. Cowan J. Knead the dough on a flat surface.  Cut into strips.  Let sit for 15-20 minutes.  Drop into boiling chicken broth and cook until done.  Mrs. Cowan says eats them in a bowl of the chicken broth.  You can add any preferred seasonings to taste.
Mama’s Pecan Tassies
Crust
½ cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter at room temperature
3 oz. or small block of cream cheese at room temperature
½ cup of plain flour
¼ teaspoon of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and cream cheese on medium speed.  Add flour and salt on low speed.  Divide into 24 balls a little bigger than a gumball.  Press balls into mini muffin tin.  Press against the sides to make a shell.  Sit aside.
Filling
1 egg
¾ cup of firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon of melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon of salt
½ cup of chopped pecans
In a medium bowl, combine egg, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt.
Sprinkle pecans into the shells.  Top with egg mixture.
Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Reduce temperature to 325 degrees.  Cook until set or about 10-15 minutes.
I really enjoy Mrs. Cowan and I can’t wait to try some of her recipes!

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