It’s a busy day at Joe Pastry world headquarters, so I’m going to cop out on writing my own history of Bananas Foster, and instead just drop in the official history as it appears on the Brennan’s restaurant web site. That’s the New Orleans institution that invented the dish, so they should know (plus, I’ve found absolutely no new information to add). So here it is:
In the 1950’s, New Orleans was the major port of entry for bananas shipped from Central and South America. Owen Edward Brennan challenged his talented chef, Paul Blangé, to include bananas in a new culinary creation – Owen’s way of promoting the imported fruit. Simultaneously, Holiday Magazine had asked Owen to provide a new recipe to appear in a feature article on Brennan’s.
In 1951, Chef Paul created Bananas Foster. The scrumptious dessert was named for Richard Foster, who, as chairman, served with Owen on the New Orleans Crime Commission, a civic effort to clean up the French Quarter. Richard Foster, owner of the Foster Awning Company, was a frequent customer of Brennan’s and a very good friend of Owen.
Little did anyone realize that Bananas Foster would become an international favorite and is the most requested item on the restaurant’s menu. Thirty-five thousand pounds of bananas are flamed each year at Brennan’s in the preparation of its world-famous dessert.
The web page that this came from is actually a very entertaining read. On it are links to write-ups of other famous Brennan’s dishes like Crabmeat Imperial and Oysters Rockefeller (though wasn’t that invented at Antoine’s?). You can also check out some others that have been lost to history. Asparagus Ellen, for example (hey, they can’t all be gold). Check’em out!