Fraud Fighting Banana Bread
This is dedicated to all the foodies who have to scroll to the bottom of food blogs to get a recipe. Sorry about the broken JUMP TO RECIPE button, I should probably get that fixed. Keep scrolling fellow fraud fighting foodies!
The noble profession of Fraud Fighting requires a lot from the minds of the fighters. Brain power is essential to deterring fraud (which is unfortunately why we cannot train chimpanzees to do it). To make those minds work to the best of their ability, nourishment is the name of the game.
Years ago when financial crimes based careers started popping up, a man by the name of Cedric Werther found that he was more productive when he had eaten a saltine cracker. While working as an investigator, he began to research the effects of partaking in food while on the job. Werther found that 5 saltine crackers were optimal. This led him to test and discover the impacts of other types of food.
In 1973, two foods were at the top of Werther's list - bread and bananas. By this point, others had begun to catch on and would make sure to eat before or during their work days. In addition to food, people found that adequate sleep at night and a good cup of coffee in the morning also helped in the fight. Science was winning the day!
Bread, Werther found, was like a saltine cracker but much better tasting. It could be paired with different foods to make handheld sandwiches. In theory, one could read a paper report in one hand and consume a Reuben with the other, though Werther never had the bravery to try such a thing.
Bananas have potassium to keep blood pressure in check, a must when navigating the deep and wavy seas of the slimy crime. They also kept eaters fuller. More focus for more hours = more fraud stopped.
Werther's research continued into the 80s before the brilliant idea came to him that banana bread existed. He wondered what would happen if he combined the two.
"I wondered what would happen if I combined the two," he recollected years later. "The results opened my eyes. I found a basic recipe - nothing fancy, mind you - and baked it up. The smell, the aroma of it all...mmmm. When that loaf was fresh out of the oven I percolated some coffee. I cut the banana bread and it steamed. It went on a plate with a tab of butter melting on top. Then, I ate it just like that and drank the coffee.
"I was working an identity fraud case involving fraudulent checks. Back in the day they were rampant; good thing we got that under control. Anyway, some kid was posing as a cruise boat captain and would cash bad checks against the cruise ship company's account. I chased him all across the country.
"The day I made the banana bread, I pieced the case together. By the next day we had arrested Fred Abigail III in North Dakota posing as a lumberjack foreman."
After this, banana bread's reputation as a fraud fighting food became well known very quickly. It was supposedly eaten to positive effects during the Verne Madeup ponzi scheme investigation in the late 2000's. Today, with the fraud environment out of control in many industries, those fighting fraud have never eaten more banana bread.
But like other foods, there are many recipes to choose from. Do you add nuts, raisins, or chocolate? Are their alternative options for those on different diets? Loaf pan or muffins? What about the use of premium butters that cost more than some people's houses?
Some of this is trial and error, to find the right recipe. The recipe below is tried and true, a conventional bread of banana that is perfect for general fraud fighting. I was given this recipe by a retiring forensic accountant who was moving to Fiji and made me promise to keep it a secret. Thanks George J. Perkins, your secret recipe is safe with me (my mouth is zipped shut).
I recommend a mixer for this recipe because mixers are cool and spin things. For a baking vessel I suggest a ceramic coated standard loaf pan. And don't skimp on buttering it up...don't spare that butter.
Make sure the bananas are ripe; the more spots the better! There are many ways to ripen bananas but the best way I have found is to simply leave them out. If you are impatient and need ripened bananas now, consider a few other methods. The bananas can go in the oven. You could also probably deep-fry them; seems like that would work. One other alternative is to construct a time machine and throw them in there. Completely up to you though.
Another pointer when making this recipe is, as with all banana breads, to mix the baking soda in well. Growing up I loved banana bread, except for when I would get a clump of baking soda. It will ruin the bread. Mix it up in the flour. The addition of using a mixer will also addressing backing soda clumping (BSC).
Thanks everyone who gave five stars to this recipe. I really really really hope you all like it and it helps power you through your day. Let me know how it helps you in your fight against fraud and other financial crimes!
Fraud Fighting Banana Bread [actually derived by Beard on Bread]
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed, very ripe bananas (2 large or 3 medium)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar. Mix well. Add the eggs and mashed bananas and blend thoroughly. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Combine the milk and lemon juice, which will curdle a bit. Slowly and alternately fold in the flour mixture and milk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Blend well after each addition.
Pour batter into the pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the bread springs back when lightly touched in the center.