One of America’s Favorites – the Banana Split

May 14, 2013 at 8:34 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A banana split is an ice cream-based dessert. In its classic form it is served in a long dish called a boat. A banana is cut in half lengthwise (hence the split) and laid in the dish. There are many variations, but the classic banana split is made with scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream served in a row between the split banana. Pineapple topping is spooned over the strawberry ice cream, chocolate syrup over the vanilla, and strawberry topping over the chocolate. It is garnished with crushed nuts, whipped cream, and maraschino cherries.

 

David Evans Strickler, a 23-year-old apprentice pharmacist at Tassel Pharmacy, located at 805 Ligonier Street in Latrobe,

A traditional banana split as served at Cabot's Ice Cream and Restaurant in Newtonville, Massachusetts.

A traditional banana split as served at Cabot’s Ice Cream and Restaurant in Newtonville, Massachusetts.

Pennsylvania, who enjoyed inventing sundaes at the store’s soda fountain, invented the banana-based triple ice cream sundae in 1904. The sundae originally cost 10 cents, twice the price of other sundaes, and caught on with students of nearby Saint Vincent College. News of the sundae spread by word-of-mouth by students, through correspondence, and at professional conventions. Strickler went on to buy the pharmacy, naming it Strickler’s Pharmacy. The city of Latrobe celebrated the 100th anniversary of the invention of the banana split in 2004 and, in the same year, the National Ice Cream Retailers Association (NICRA) certified the city as its birthplace.

 

Shortly after its invention by Strickler, a Boston ice cream entrepreneur came up with the same sundae, with one minor flaw — he served his banana splits with the bananas unpeeled until he discovered that people preferred them peeled.
Wilmington, Ohio also claims an early connection. In 1907, restaurant owner Ernest Hazard wanted to attract students from Wilmington College during the slow days of winter. He staged an employee contest to come up with a new ice cream dish. When none of his workers were up to the task, he split a banana lengthwise, threw it into an elongated dish and created his own dessert. The town commemorates the event each June with a Banana Split Festival.

 

 

Walgreens is credited with spreading the popularity of the banana split. The early drug stores operated by Charles Rudolph Walgreen in the Chicago area adopted the banana split as a signature dessert. Fountains in the stores proved to be drawing cards, attracting customers who might otherwise have been just as satisfied having their prescriptions filled at some other drug store in the neighborhood.

 

The banana split pie appears to have originated in the American Midwest, and to have been created by Janet Winquest, a 16 year-old resident of Holdrege, Nebraska, today still an isolated rural community that counted 5,500 souls during the 2010 census.
Sometime in 1952, Ms. Winquest won a $3,000.00 award from Pillsbury, during the Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest.

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