Where does banana bread come from?

…asks reader Roz. Banana bread was a relative latecomer to the tea bread scene, not having arrived until the early 1930’s. The first written recipe is thought to have been published in a 1933 Pillsbury Company cookbook entitled Balanced Recipes. Still there’s little to suggest that banana bread was especially popular at the time.

It wasn’t until the early 1960’s that banana bread became as ubiquitous as the pencil skirt and bouffant hairdo. As to why, that fact isn’t firmly documented. My guess is that it had something to do with the tropical and/or Polynesian food craze that swept the U.S. following Hawaii’s acceptance as a state in 1959. Those were the years — right around 1960 — that Elvis went Hawaiian, trendy couples made poi at home and Tiki bar culture was at its apogee.

Might the tropical flavors that were so in vogue at the time have led to a boom in banana bread? It seems sensible enough to me. But then I’ve been wrong before…

2 thoughts on “Where does banana bread come from?”

  1. I don’t know about the USA, but my elderly relatives have told me that bananas were one of the very first imported fruits that were available here after the war. That may have something to do with the popularity of banana-anything.

    1. Hey Bronwyn! I looked into that, but bananas were common here in the States both before and after the War, so unless there was some sort of mid-50’s banana blight that I don’t know about, supply doesn’t seem to have been the issue. Good thinking though.

      – Joe

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