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’sBananas: 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.]
This little pamphlet is from the Fruit Dispatch Company. It includes the aforementioned ham banana rolls as well as some really tasty sounding things like Banana Butterscotch Pie.
The Chiquita Banana first made her appearance in 1944. This version is from 1962.
A Study of the Banana: Its Everyday Use and Food Value published by the United Fruit Company gives nutrition and health advice related to bananas. This page shows doctor-advised uses. I noticed that the “For Slim Figures” section advises readers to “ask your doctor for a free copy of the Banana and Skimmed Milk diet.” This was another pamphlet which United Fruit provided to physicians for distribution.
This photo from the Chiquita Banana Cookbook, shows baked bananas drizzled with currant jelly, curry sauce, and mint jelly being served with a variety of meats. On the next page, you can find a recipe for Banana Shrimp Curry.
Chiquita advises decorating with bananas as well as eating them. Here are some on a book shelf. Obviously, they are not librarians. Who has this kind of space available on a book shelf?!
Pancakes + bananas = funcakes.
Banana Sardine Boats
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.
By This Way to the Banana Salad Bazaar (1940)