10 weird foods that prove America used to be bananas for banana flavoring
Our taste buds once had a hankering for banana soda, banana marshmallows, banana gum and banana meat loaf.
Top image: Associated Press
Funny, how flavors come and go. If you hopped in a time machine with a case of açaí flavored Vitamin Water, people of forty years ago would think you came from an alien planet. Likewise, some favored flavors of the midcentury seem quaint or downright strange to modern tongues.
What we're getting at is that American taste buds used to just be nuts for bananas. Well, it went beyond food. There were banana seats on wheelie bikes in the 1960s, banana jeans in the 1970s. Go back to the 1920s and you'll find the baseball themed BB Bats banana taffy on a stick. The original Twinkie was banana flavored.
Bananas were rationed during World War II, and perhaps that led folks to pine for the tropical fruit. Because in the postwar boom, banana was everywhere in our grocery stores, candy aisles and cookbooks. Here are some of the weirdest / most delicious (it's a divisive flavor) banana foods from the 1950s, '60s and '70s.
1. Anna Banana Soda
Canfield's banana soft drink flopped in the 1970s, but still… there was enough of a banana craze for them to make it in the first place. Perhaps people preferred their banana-ish foods chewed.
2. Banana Meat Loaf
Chiquita produced several editions of its cookbook with out-of-the-box ideas. The one that jumps off the pages in this 1962 edition is the — *Hrrk* — Banana Meat Loaf. Other ideas include grilled bananas with mint jelly and "Banana Scallops."
Image: Book It
3. Big Banana Bubble Gum
It's like a banana that you never swallow.
Image: Flickr / jasonliebigstuff
4. Wackies cereal
Imagine Lucky Charms, if all the marshmallows were flavored with banana — banana stars, banana "squiggles" and banana "bingles." General Mills made up silly shape names for the 1965 debut.
5. Corn Flakes with Instant Bananas
In the mid-'60s, Kellogg's got into the banana breakfast game with it's "instant bananas." For those too lazy to slice a fresh banana into their bowl. What exactly did the bananas do in an instant? We hope magically turn soft.
Image: Box Vox
6. Banana Flip
Made by Mickey's and Nickles, this snack cake built a rabid fan base, as we learned when we mentioned it in our lost snack foods of the 1970s. They were especially popular in the Ohio area.
Image: Flickr / emeraldtoys
7. Banana Splits
Necco cranked out tons of these taffy chews back in the day, and you can still buy them online today. Did they have to make the bananas look so brown on the wrapper?
Image: Old Time Candy
8. Banana Flipsticks
Flipsticks, or "candy lipstick," was a popular Halloween get in the 1960s. Naturally, there was a banana flavor.
Image: Old Time Candy
9. Ham and Bananas Hollandaise
A modern Internet sensation, this entry in McCalls Great American Recipe Card Collection from 1973 has become the ultimate example of awesomely out-there retro recipes. Perhaps we are bananas for saying this, but if it were not for the textural issues — creamy on soft on mushy — this wouldn't seem so crazy to us. Bacon wrapped dates are delicious, right?
Image: Vintage Recipe Cards
10. Monkees Trading Cards
Hey, hey, these trading cards came with banana flavored gum. Makes sense, what with the whole "Monkees" name.
Image: Phoenix New Times