Baking in Ecuador


Well, well, well.  You would think that a family that lives in a country who is one of the top banana producers in the world would have had banana bread before.  Go figure . . . my host family had not.

So, I took it upon myself (with some help) to bake pan de banano (banana bread) for my family this past week.  It was a hit!  It was gone in a little over a day.

Making pan de banano ended up being quite an ordeal.   I needed help with both the measurements and with using the oven.  My host mom, Fanny, and our amazing empleada, Maria, were part of Team Pan de Banano.  You can see a picture of them enjoying the treat after it was cooked – Fanny is on the left and Maria is on the right.  Also, I must mention that there are several baking modifications that must be made when cooking at higher altitudes – for example 9,000 feet – that was interesting too!

As Fanny and I measured out the ingredients, Maria stood with a hand mixer and took charge of blending everything.  After mixing all of the ingredients, I tasted it and noticed that it was a bit buttery.  Hmph.  I reread the recipe and noticed that we added too much butter.  I was concerned that the recipe would not turn out correctly, however it ended up just fine.  And, I suppose if you are going to add too much of anything in a recipe, butter is one of the tastier options. 🙂

You may be wondering what I meant by needing help with using the oven.  First off, let me tell you that I know how to use an oven in the U.S.   What I don’t know is how to use a gas oven that needs to be hooked up and has no temperature gauge.  Check it out in the picture.  Also, the oven is located at my host grandmother’s house in a back room – not attached to the house.  This means we walked two blocks to the oven while carrying unbaked pan de banano over to grandmother’s house (should we sing that together?).  Thank goodness for Maria because she moved the gas tank over to the oven, attached it, and lit the oven.  Then we waited for 20 minutes for it to heat up.  Next, we put the pan in the oven and waited for 40 minutes for it to cook.  The time was just a guess, of course, because Maria had no idea what it was supposed to look like and I had no idea what temperature the oven was set on.  I must admit though, even though we sat in the little room for most of the 60 minutes, it was great to chat with Maria and get to know one another better.  Besides, I absolutely adore Maria!

Surprisingly, the treat turned out fabulous!  Yay!  We carried it home with newspaper hot hands (we had no oven mitts – so we used the next best thing) and brought it into the house as it was piping hot.  We cut into it right away!  Here’s a picture of our pan.

So, what is the moral of this post?  You decide.  Write a comment with your choice please. 🙂

  • Option 1: Enjoy the ease of baking in the U.S. and be glad that you can use an oven in your kitchen, with a temperature gauge!
  • Option 2: Savor the difficult times when you are baking with others because it can provide an opportunity to connect with one another.
  • Option 3: Eat pan de banano as much as possible because it’s not always easy to make.
  • Option 4: I think there’s a different moral to this post.  It is . . .

15 responses »

  1. I think it’s a good lesson that we take for granted what we know. We may be amazed at what we can teach others if we but pay attention. I bet you never dreamed you could treat someone from ecuador to their first taste of banana bread. Kudos to you for trying and overcoming the obstacles.

  2. The moral of the story is that even a story about banana nut bread can be interesting if its shared and savored between friends. (Plus, I am kind of partial to our modern conveniences back here in The States!) 🙂

    • Glad you liked it! 🙂 We actually have an oven in our kitchen at my house, but it was used last week for baking fish. I’m not sure if they use it for many other things. For example, the house in Quito I stayed in for a month did not have an oven. Apparently, they aren’t too popular from what I have seen so far. Maybe I’ll learn more along the way!

  3. Hello! I think what I took away is I shall never ever take for granted the THOUSANDS of conveniences that spoil us in the Convenient States of America. You are so brave and wonderful. And I agree with you about the butter. Well done my friend.

  4. The moral f the story is that you are having a wonderful experience that will be with you for the rest of your life and will touch all you know when you come back to the States!!! This was GREAT!!!!!

  5. Nice story! 🙂 We love Banana Bread! I actually made some during the weekend too 🙂 Is not that hard in Panama though 😀 I have a recipe if you want to try a different one 🙂 – I even use olive oil instead of butter to make it healthier and it works out great!
    In Antigua I learned some things about baking in altitude, I think you can use the same recipe but it takes less time to bake or something like that 😉
    I would go with option 2 –

    Take care my friend! Hope we can chat sometime soon!

    • Hello my friend! So good to hear from you! I love that you made pan de banano this weekend too. And yes, please send me your recipe sometime! Talk to you soon! Happy Monday!

  6. I think I would be alot skinnier if I had to walk 2 blocks every time I wanted to cook something in the oven. I am not saying that is far, but it is not convenient like we are use to here. I think the moral of the story is to be thankful for what we have and it is also a good eye opening to the differences. Thanks for sharing! I am so impressed that it turned out so well with all the guessing 🙂 Looks yummy!

  7. Hello Turken 🙂

    I have 2 bananas that need to be used before those pesky nats take over, so I think you’ve inspired me to make banana bread for the first time. I find your stories amazing. This past weekend we hosted 2 missionaries who work with children and families in Guatemala. Damaris actually is Guatemalan. Shawn mentioned how he baked cookies for his in-laws for the first time by using a Betty Crocker Mix that just needed water. It was a huge hit. The only types of cookies they’ve had were hard ones. Randy & I enjoyed listening to their struggles in Guatemala and how things are different. And I continue to share your stories with Randy too.

    I say continue to share your favorite recipes, even if they are harder to make. Food is a wonderful way to spend time with others. Any time I’ve had the girls help make something, it always takes longer but the quality time together and the memories made are so worth the trouble.

    As I make my banana bread this weekend I will think of you. Love you!


    PS – Is there an address we can send things to you? Do you have any idea how long it would take for you to receive a letter?

  8. Great story about the banana bread! We really do take for granted the conviences we have in the US. But, I’m kind of upset about something. Your bread turned out good, and with all the appliances I have in my kitchen, my baking still stinks! Still love hearing about your experiences and will continue to follow your blog. Our maestra, Ann, her mom died recently in Iowa, so she is making up two of the classes. She is something! Also, they have added another class for us. It will be Spanish 3 and we will finish the 1st book before moving on to Intermediate, which is a VERY good thing. Adios from Missouri:)

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