A traditional banana split as served at Cabot's Ice Cream and Restaurant in Newtonville, Massachusetts
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|Vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream
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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, 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 a new variety of sundae quickly spread by word-of-mouth and through correspondence and soon progressed far beyond Latrobe. A popular recipe published in 1907 called for a lengthwise split banana, two cones of ice cream at each end and a spoon of whipped cream in between with maraschino cherry on a top, with one end covered with chopped mixed nuts and another with chopped mixed fruits.
Strickler went on to buy the pharmacy, naming it Strickler's Pharmacy, while keeping his office on a top floor.
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. It is the place of an annual Great American Banana Split Festival and a keeper of the original soda fountain where the first now famous throughout the world confection was made.
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 its own 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.
Banana split pie
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 residents during the 2010 census.
- Pellegrinelli, Carroll. "Banana Split". About.com. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- Turback, Michael (March 2004). The Banana Split Book. Camino Books. ISBN 094015983X
- Steele, Bruce (August 25, 2004). "With a Cherry on Top-Pitt fetes alums creation of banana split". University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved on September 3, 2007.
- Merck's Report: A Practical Journal of Pharmacy as a Profession and a Business. Ed. by Theodore Weicker. Volume 16, June 1907, p. 164.
- Smith, Rachel (June 22, 2006). "Latrobe's banana split a sweet 'Taste of America'". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved on September 3, 2007.
- Federoff, Stacey (August 20, 2013). "Latrobe to go bananas over split". TribLive. Trib Total Media. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- "The Soda Fountain", 1905 Birth of the banana split.
- Hunter, David (Oct 1, 2003). "Shifra Stein's Day Trips from Cincinnati: Getaways Less Than Two Hours Away". Globe Pequot. p. 134. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
- The National Rural Letter Carrier; National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, 1952; Volume 51, p.257.
- Farm Journal; Farm Journal Incorporated, 1953; Volume 77, Issue 11, p.138.
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