More than one friend has alerted me to weird banana recipes lately. This of course led me to dig out all of the banana cookbooks I could find in the Kirschner Collection. Actually, these are promotional pamphlets more than actual books, and they are chock full of just these sorts of recipes (Ham Banana Rolls With Cheese Sauce!). This got me wondering about why these sorts of pamphlets proliferated when they did, which led to more research on the history of bananas in the U.S., which led to finding Peter Chapman's Bananas: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World. I recommend it if you want to know more about the seedy underbelly of the banana industry. And just who is this United Fruit Company? Well, now we know them as Chiquita. Most (but not all) of these pamphlets were published by United Fruit/Chiquita. With that in mind, I'd like to take you on a visual tour of some of my favorite moments in banana propaganda. [Full disclosure: I am a banana fiend.]
As a final bonus for a friend on Twitter, I leave you with a recipe. You must take a photo and report back if you ever make and eat this.
Banana Sardine Boats
From This Way to the Banana Salad Bazaar (1940)
1 ripe banana
Peel and cut banana crosswise into halves and place on salad plate. Cut a groove lengthwise along the top of each half. Fit a whole sardine into each groove so it will stand upright. Garnish with lemon and crisp greens.
Serve with mayonnaise.