Good morning food enthusiasts. The Guide is here to do its weekly celebration.  But we always try to give you something unique.  So this week we figured we would give you a song.  BUT we figured that if we actually sang it to you that you would run away in agony, or that we would be sued.  One of the two.  MAybe both.  So you will have to imagine my voice.  And if you cannot figure out the tune to the song . . . you might not have watched a Disney movie in the last 30 years.  So it is with the greatest pride and deepest pleasure that we sing for you tonight. So sit back and pull up a chair while the Guide proudly presents your . . . food holiday.

The Food Holiday Fest – Banana Style

It’s a fest
It’s a fest
Put our blogging to the test
Search our holiday menagerie
While we provide a jest.
Onion rings, cheese, and dips
Come with lots of silly quips
Try the cookies, their so scrumptious
We just hope you will not punch us.

Our food will sing, and do some glides
After all, this is the Guide.
And our silliness is not to be outdone
Why don’t you put your feet up
Before you go and eat up.
It’s a fest. It’s a fest. Yes, a fest.

Cheese Souffle, naked fish
With wasabi that’s delish
We’ll provide like the dude abides
A Holiday foodies guide.
You’re so tired and you’re bored
But you can thank the Lord
You’re not mopey while your waiting
Because the Guide is entertaining.
We do laughs; we do fun
While I tell some witty puns

And the edgy humor grates as you can guess
Come on and fill your cup
With Julep drink right up
For it’s a fest, if you’ve messed
A second shirt we do suggest.
It’s a fest. It’s a fest.  Yes, a fest

Time is endless looking
For a human who’s not cooking
They’re so droll without some sole to go with greens
Ah, those happy times they sautéed bass
(Now) they can’t think of food to go with beans.
For years we’ve been wasting
Needing much more food for tasting
And Crepe pans to test our cooking skills
Most nights we drool at foodie pictures
Broken, beat and crazy
But I still refuse to wear paisley

It’s a fest! It’s a fest!
Man alive, I’m at my best
When teas been brewed and I’m not sued
While lyrics spill at my behest.
With those rings, you’ll want dip
And for free I’ll give that tip.
While these lyrics are so silly
Go get yourself another Philly.

I’ll talk seafood that’s cold
And it’s less than one day old.
Dip in bowls to make the sushi past the test
We’ve got a split to brew.
Is it one holiday or two?
For this the fest. It’s a fest.
This the fest. Yes, a fest.

It’s a fest! It’s a fest!
The holidays at your behest
It’s been hours since I’ve laid out some flowers
And that’s a jest!
Have some laughs, have some fun
Yes indeed I’ve only just begun
While my brain is overflowing
With some jokes please don’t be going.

Joke by Joke, Day by day
Till you laugh the night away
Then we’ll give you tips for food to be impressed.
Today we’ll talk bananas
Oh yes, that’s the plan a
It’s a fest
It’s a fest
Yes, a fest.
Please rock this fest!

(And if you still haven’t figured out the music to these lyrics by now, please check out a certain movie with Emma Watson and Daniel Stephens.  Here’s a hint: it’s not Harry Potter.)

National Banana Split Day

Part of me feels like I should drop the mic after the beginning of this post.  But I feel like I would not be respecting the food holiday if I did not try and show it some love like I have done with the others.  It would be sad to miss out on the fake history of the Banana Split.  But I always love to discuss my experience with the holiday.  And for those of you who are wondering, it does not involve someone named Chip or Cogsworth.

My main experience with the dish came when I was a child.  We had two different major ice cream parlors when I was a child.  Those two parlors were Farrells and Swensen’s.  I didn’t get to go to them all that often.  My parents tried to keep me away from sugar the best that they could.  (Although the fact that my mother always had a ton of sugar around the house to give away as bribes to her students when she was substitute teaching seemed to slip her notice.)  So we did not get to go to Farrell’s or Swensens all that often.

But I remember the first time getting that banana split.  I had problems with a mild chocolate allergy when I was a child, but my brother had no such issue.  So the first time we would visit Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor we would order their version of the banana split.  It was considered “canonical” as is had three scoops of ice cream with the Neapolitan flavors and toppings on them.  And then whipped cream and chopped nuts would be scattered across the ice cream followed by a nice big maraschino cherry on top.  I didn’t need to ask any dishes.  I knew I loved this dessert.  And, being the older brother, I could end up with two scoops of ice cream and toppings while my brother ended up with the one scoop of chocolate.  That was ice cream heaven for me.

So when Swensen’s and Farrell’s packed up their bags from California and decided to move out, I was very displeased.  It meant that they only place I could find such sundaes were at Disneyland or Bob’s Big Boy.  There might have been some other places that served them, but they were few and far between.  So we were in the Banana Split Wastelands.  Thankfully, a few years back, Farrell’s made a return. And for that, my daughter and I are eternally grateful.  Not only do I get to introduce her to that amazing banana split, but I get to share my youth with her as well.  Here’s to hoping they do not have to leave again.

But I know you haven’t come here just to read through a lovely song, or hear my story about how I love that beautiful sundae they call the banana split.  Oh no!  You are here for another in the long line of fake food histories that I have left in my wake.  And as such, you are here to read another one.  So without further ado, the Guide presents the next generation in fake food histories.


The Fake History Of The Banana Split

As with the history of many of our favorite creamy delights, this food history goes back to the turn of the century.  Wait.  I mean the last century between the 18 and 1900s.  At the turn of the century, there was a lot of optimism about the world.  And for my two cents, this might have had to do with the gigantic sugar rush that they must have been having.  Between ice cream sundaes, banana splits and ice cream sodas, I think the country must have been on one big happy sugar rush.  And not the one with the game from Wreck-It Ralph either.

In that semi sugar induced stupor, people started to create some pretty ingenious desserts. Whether it was all part of their master plan to enslave the world I will never know.  You will have to go back and talk to the inventors.  Which in this case, there are two claimants to the title of banana split champion.  I would say that I had a gold belt to give to the actual inventor of the banana split as he or she would be the champion of sundae making.  But aside from the fact that we here at the Guide couldn’t afford a golden belt, the fact that either one of the inventors is dead by now would put a definite pause on those plans.

The nice thing is that in this case, we do not seem to have multiple claimants from multiple different countries.  Evidently, the U.S. had the monopoly on making sweet ice cream treats. We knew what to do with a scoop of ice cream better than anyone it appears.  And so we made marvelous inventions with it.

The Philadelphia Claim –

The first known claim to the title of Banana Split champion hails from the streets of Philadelphia.  David Evans Strickler was 5 ft nothing, weighing 100 and change.  And for him, it was an extra way of adding some bulk to his lean frame.  He had always wanted to be a boxer and instead found himself behind a pharmacy counter staring at the four walls and wondering when it was going to be his turn to make something of himself.

He was about to give up on the thought of boxing when, after making a sundae for a customer, he saw the man dipping a banana into the whipped cream and giving it to his girlfriend to eat.  (Get your mind out of the gutter!  This is a clean blog I tell ya!)  David decided he needed to try out this for himself when he dipped it into the ice cream and chocolate sauce as well as the ice cream.  David thought to himself that this would be great added vitamins and nutrients that he could add to the, lacking in nutrition, ice cream sundae.  He tested this out himself and could feel his mouth sing opera.  He rarely listened to opera so he did not know.  But he knew he needed to replicate this banana sundae.  He knew he would make a fortune.

But making the customers have to peel back the banana wasn’t something he wanted to do.  So he decided to slid it lengthwise and put it in a bowl to keep it fresh.  And there he came up with the name for it as he split the banana lengthwise in the dish.  It has been known as such for the past 100 years.

The Ohio Claim –

This comes from people in Ohio who believe that the real originator of the Banana Split was one Ernest Hazard who, in 1907, was trying to get college kids to frequent his establishment more often during the dark days of winter.  (Why he’d want to be selling to college students ice cream in the bitter cold of Ohio winters is a question I will leave for another day.)  Nevertheless, they claim, that in his attempts to bring in more students he happened upon the banana split.

Evidently, he had a sundae with two scoops of ice cream and one big dollop of whipped cream between the two of them in a long bowl.  This whipped cream did have the same nuts and cherry on top.  But the place had run out of spoons and he needed something to help his customers eat the whipped cream and ice cream.  And all he could find were some bananas.  So he split them in two for his customers and tried them out.  While they were good at getting the whipped cream out, they seemed to have failures to scoop up the ice cream until it was almost melted.  But the people didn’t seem to care as they enjoyed the flavor of the banana and ice cream together.

So Ernest Hazzard decided that he would take what he saw that day and put it to good use.  They added the bananas to their sundaes, split down the middle.  Although this is not a classic banana split with the three scoops, they would eventually add that instead of the huge pile of whipped cream in the center.  And that is the story of the Ohio claim to the Iron Banana throne.


Whichever version of the story you choose to believe, I will leave up to you.  Although I really suspect that whole notion of Hazzard making Sundaes during an Ohio Winter.  If he did, he was one crazy dude I have to say.  So I would most likely believe the first version.  But who knows?  Maybe Hazzard wins it by a nose?

As those who have followed my food holiday series know, I never leave you with the just history and a bit more.  I always give you something.  And as banana splits are basically three scoops of ice cream and bananas as well as whipped cream, sauce, nuts and a cherry, I didn’t figure giving you a recipe would be the best thing.  (Although there are some amazing ice cream recipes out there.)  I figured telling you about my favorite banana split places out there.

 

Top Five Southern California Banana Split Places –

5) Bob’s Big Boy – Various Locations

While I have had other issues with their food, the ice cream is pretty safe.  And it’s been one of the best places to get Banana Splits in Southern California for a long time.  It’s delicious home made ice cream, whipped cream, and bananas.  What could be better for the split than that?

4) Farrell’s – Brea

There is just something so nostalgic about this place. Unfortunately, management there seems to have problems. And we shall see if it can thrive again or fail.  The interesting thing is that a new owner took over and it’s in for a major revamp with a brand new non-thrifty brand ice cream.  That should be interesting.  What I can say is that if you can make it there it’s controlled chaos that my daughter loves. And they have one of the best banana splits out there.  And it’s huge.  My daughter and her two cousins could split it just fine.

3)   Milk – Los Angeles

One of the highest rated ice cream places by Yelp, Milk does a twist on the classic banana split with banana flavored ice cream instead of the strawberry.  It’s one gooey mess but it’s delicious.

2) Ghirardelli’s Soda Fountain – Anaheim and Los Angeles 

When Disney added this to its list of ice cream places inside California Adventure, we didn’t realize the treat we would be in store for.  It was ice cream heaven. They do a plethora of sundaes and shakes that are to die for. And with their amazing sundaes come their famous banana split.  This is ice cream heaven.

1) Strickland’s Frozen Custard – Irvine

Since 1936 Strickland’s has been producing high-quality ice cream to go in those amazing banana splits.  And as it originated in Ohio, if the Ohio story is to be believed, Strickland has been making those fabulous banana splits for an awfully long time.  The difference in this banana split is it uses an extra scoop of vanilla and focuses on giving strawberry sauce instead.

 


Continue The Conversation –

So what did you think of the history of this frozen treat?  Do you believe the Ohio or the Philadelphia Story?  What three scoops do you prefer?  Do you go with the chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, or do you go with something else altogether?  I would love to hear your interesting concoctions and possibly try them out myself.  Regardless, I would love to know your thoughts.  One last thing of note. Some places listed August 10th as the original date of the holiday this year.  So feel free to celebrate it twice this month.

Follow Me

For those of you who enjoyed this post, please check out many of my other fake food histories and real food holiday celebrations.  Let me know if you have had a favorite one so far.  And don’t forget to sign up to get updates on the Guide.  Those who sign up for the email will get access to the Dad Rules.  These are ten rules that every father should know about and follow, or they might get ice cream brain freeze.  Thanks for stopping by once again.

Until next time, this is me signing off.

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life