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The Vienna Model Bakery Advertised Banana Bread In The April 21, 1893, Edition Of St. Louis Post-Dispatch

banana bread

February 23rd annually recognizes a well-known food holiday, National Banana Bread Day.

  • It was with the popularization of baking soda and baking powder in the 1930s that banana bread first became a standard feature of American cookbooks and appeared in Pillsbury’s 1933 Balanced Recipes cookbook. Banana bread later gained further acceptance with the release of the original Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book in 1950.
  • The United States saw the arrival of bananas in the 1870′s, but it took a while before they appeared as an ingredient in desserts.
  • The Vienna Model Bakery advertised banana bread as something new in the April 21, 1893, edition of St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  An early restaurant/bakery chain owned by Gaff, Fleischmann & Company, The Viena Model Bakery was known for their baked goods and was likely one of the first to produce banana bread in the United States.  The recipe was made with banana flour, which is made by drying strips of the fruit, then grinding it to a powder.  This process had long been used in the West Indies.
  • In Hawaii during World War I, there was a surplus of bananas due to very few ships to export the fruit.  In order not to waste the fruits, alternative uses for bananas were developed.  The bakeries started incorporating the fruit into their bread.
  • This recipe was printed in The Maui News on April 12, 1918, for banana bread:  2/3 banana; 1/3 flour; Yeast, coconut milk or water
  • There was also rationing of staple food items such as flour.  Banana flour was a suggested substitute.  It was touted as a health food and recommended for a vegetarian diet.
  • A recipe submitted by Mrs. Dean in the February 18, 1918, issue of The Garden Island paper for a banana muffin might more closely resemble the quick bread we think of today.
  • In 1927, Unifruit (a wholesale produce company) offered a free cookbook called From the Tropics to Your Table full of banana recipes including banana muffins and breads.  This little cookbook would have been handy during the Great Depression which was just around the corner. Throwing out overripe bananas was not something a family could afford to do.  Utilizing every bit of food and stretching meals was a daily practice.  Overripe bananas, as well as other fruits and vegetables, were baked into breads, stews and other dishes when flavor and texture were not as appealing raw.
  • The first banana bread recipe appeared in Pillsbury’s Balanced Recipes cookbook but this treat became more widely accepted after another recipe appeared in Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book in 1950.
  • Banana trees are considered giant herbs, not ‘trees’ at all.
  • A cluster of bananas is known as a hand, each banana are fingers.
  • Rubbing the inside of a banana peel on bug bites are said to relieve itching and inflammation.
  • Bananas are one of the only fruits harvested every day of the year. They do not grow in regions that have dramatic seasonal changes.
  • Most banana breads are quick breads and contain no yeast but do contain baking powder.
  • More bananas are sold than any other fruit in the United States. Believe it or not, 96% of American households purchase bananas at least once a month!
  • Green tipped bananas are considered to be the best for cooking side dishes with. When they are yellow with brown flecks or riper they are great for using in breads, cookies, and shakes, but are generally too soft and sweet for cooking.
  • Alexander the Great conquered parts of India in 327 BCE and “discovered” bananas. Archaeological record clearly indicates that the banana had been cultivated well before that, but his is thought to be the first written record of this delightful fruit.
  • Banana bread is very good for your heart and bananas take all the credit for this. They are very rich in potassium, a mineral that regulates blood pressure and normalized heart function. However, it is worth noting that all health benefits of banana bread recipes go out of the window if you load it with refined sugar. Use stevia or raw honey instead.
  • Bananas are the most popular fruit in the world: in fact, over 100 billion bananas are eaten around the world every year, and around 51% of these are eaten at breakfast time.
  • Bananas are believed to have originated up to 10,000 years ago and some scientists believe they may have been the world’s first fruit.
  • Today, there are over 1000 different varieties of bananas growing around the world. But 95% of banana exports come from a single cultivated variety, the Cavendish.
  • There are 89 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of bananas
  • The word banana is thought to be of West African origin, possibly from the Wolof (language of Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania) word banaana, and passed into English via Spanish or Portuguese.
  • There is a Banana Club Museum in California, filled with 17,000 different banana items.


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