Leslie Harpold’s Banana bread recipe

Leslie Harpold was a magnificent person famous for lots of great things on the early internet and many people know her as the person that wrote the definitive Thank You Note how-to as well as her annual advent calendars each year.

I was lucky enough to know her a bit and got invited to a couple parties at her house when our time in San Francisco overlapped with one another. I remember once at a brunch-style mid-day party she made the most perfectly simple banana bread I’d tasted. I asked her for the recipe after the party and she sent it to me.

I posted this on Twitter a couple months ago and realized it was lost as a result of my stepping away from it. So I’m reposting it here. Enjoy, it’s good stuff.

½ cup butter
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs
3 mashed over-ripe bananas (4 if they’re small)
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add bananas. Mix in flour, baking powder, soda, and salt slowly.

Fold in nuts at the end if added. Pour into a greased 8½” loaf pan and bake 45min to an hour or until the bread tests as done (sharp paring knife inserted into the center pulls out clean). Makes one loaf. Will keep well tightly wrapped and refrigerated or frozen.

It’s really great toasted with butter or cream cheese on top. If it’s nighttime and you want a wicked dessert, put a slab of it in the toaster oven to warm up and then put Nutella on top after it comes out.

Not what it says on the tin

I'm walking down the snacks aisle at Costco today during our bi-annual trip and I couldn't help but notice the extreme sizes of chip bags. You can buy several pounds of tortilla or corn chips in bulk, but there's one bag at the end of the aisle that jumps out at me for its sheer size and girth. The bag is about the size of my torso, maybe three feet tall by one foot wide and my jaw is dropping at inane and insane name they've come up with to market such a snack:

Sensible Portions

What if cupcakes could somehow become more awesome? HOWTO

I’m a big fan of cupcakes, huge fan. 30lbs overweight fan.

Anyway, a couple months ago, my wife gave her students some cupcakes and someone BLEW MY MIND with a simple hack that solved one of cupcakes’ few failings: sometimes there’s just too much frosting, they’re too tall for your mouth, and/or the frosting/cake mix is all wrong in your mouth.

Behold my illustrated guide to How to eat cupcakes

Awesome, awesome, awesome

I linked to the Egg and Muffin toaster a while back and since I recently got an amazon gift certificate, I decided to pick one up.

I love egg mcmuffins — egg mcmuffins without meat to be precise. While I spent much of my youth eating at McDonalds, when I went strict vegetarian after high school, I boycotted the place for almost a decade. But the egg mcmuffin brought me back. These days, about once a week I get one, toss the ham in the trash, and enjoy. So the idea of being able to have perfect egg mcmuffins (without meat) at home was enticing.

After making a couple, I’m hooked. The product does exactly what it’s supposed to do, making sure both the egg and the muffins are perfectly done at the same time (it waits a while to toast). Now is the time to experiment. Different breads (it can fit bagels too), different cheeses (the extra sharp I have might be too much), and different additions (maybe smoked salmon?).

While I’m of the Alton Brown school of “never buy a uni-tasker” this one does it so perfectly well that I’m willing to sacrifice some counter space and keep this unit around. If you’re a fan of egg mcmuffins, this is priced at around 8 egg mcmuffin combo meals, and once you’ve got it you can make as many as you want, as often as you want, and exactly as you want.

You just got served

I’ve read Fast Food Nation and seen Supersize Me, so when I’m out running errands and feeling hungry, I go to a drive through with a healthy level of guilt.

While visions of my clogged arteries danced in my head, I pulled into a drive through the other day and was immediately greeted by the happiest order taker on earth. She started off by asking how I was doing, which I haven’t heard since I went to an In-N-Out in California. And when I ordered, I swear I heard a “great choice!” followed by more over-the-top enthusiasm. It was enough to completely turn my mood around. Suddenly I was having a great day and happy to have made the right choice on what to eat this day.

My enthusiasm still peaking, I went around to the pay window, noticed the line was moving screamingly fast (bonus!) and looked forward to hearing from the happiest worker on earth. When I got to the window, it suddenly became clear that the staff seemed much older and more downtrodden than the bubbly voice I heard. Then I remembered reading about call centers in far away places taking orders for Oregon drive throughs and I realized I might have just got punk’d.

Still, if that was indeed the case, I’ve got to hand it to the corporations doing this — it actually improved my experience (until I realized it may have been a bit of deception).