Mrs. Murray’s Pumpkin Bread

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we always end up making several loaves of Mrs. Murray’s Pumpkin Bread. Here’s the recipe, and the story behind it, which I first blogged back in 2006.

Mrs. Murray’s pumpkin bread

On my visit home, I was saddened to learn of the passing of Jane Murray, my second and third grade teacher at Linwood E. Howe Elementary School in Culver City, CA.

I remember being very happy in her class. She was solid on the three R’s, and she gave me the kind of encouragement on creative writing and drawing projects that impacted me in ways I’m probably not even conscious of. She didn’t yell a lot. She had control. She was the first model of adult competence I can remember. For two years, she was a big part of my life, as she no doubt was for hundreds of kids over her career.

Around this time of year, I always think of Mrs. Murray and her pumpkin bread. She had us all bring ingredients from home and directed us through a recipe that was simple enough that a class of 30 kids could handle it, and that yielded the best pumpkin bread I’ve ever had. The batter looks so good it’s difficult to resist gobbling it up with a measuring cup. I’ve often baked it during the holiday season, and I’ll be making it for sure this year.

Mrs. Murray’s Pumpkin Bread

Yields two loaves

3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp soda
3 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup water
2 cup pumpkin
4 eggs

1. Mix ingredients
2. Bake in greased and floured loaf pan at 350 for 50-70 minutes until done. Check by poking with a wooden skewer. When there’s no bread clinging to the skewer, it’s done.

About Greg van Eekhout

Greg van Eekhout is the author of the novels California Bones, The Boy at the End of the World, Kid vs. Squid, Norse Code, and other stuff.
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