Banana bread, the ultimate comfort food. The history of banana bread is slightly murky. There are two popular opinions about this bread’s origins, one that suggests that the modern banana bread recipe was developed in corporate kitchens during the midcentury to promote flour and baking soda products. This theory is backed by the fact there was an influx of banana bread promotion in the 1950s in the form of advertisements. While the other theory is quite simply that banana bread is the ingenious creation of thrifty housewives who were making do with all they had.
According to Wikipedia, “Banana bread first became a standard feature of American cookbooks with the popularization of baking soda and baking powder in the 1930s. It appeared in Pillsbury’s 1933 Balanced Recipes cookbook, and later gained more acceptance with the release of the original Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book in 1950.”
Chiquita Brand Bananas worked hard to cultivate a strong relationship with consumers early. Chiquita developed entertaining and effective methods of advertising and promotion. In fact, Chiquita was the first produce brand of any kind to advertise to consumers. In 1944 a lively, and perhaps the most successful jingle to date was produced to educate consumers on eating and storing bananas, along with the jingle the iconic “Miss Chiquita” character was introduced.
Later, Chiquita added recipe booklets to their advertisement and consumer education plan. The release of the original Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book in 1950, is credited with making banana bread mainstream, but it also offered some creative concoctions for those with an adventurous palate such as ham banana rolls, banana fritters, and banana scallops.
The Original Chiquita Banana Bread Recipe (1950)
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 -3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
- 2 -3/4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup mashed ripe CHIQUITA banana (2 to 3 bananas)
- Beat shortening until creamy and glossy, or 2 minutes at medium speed on electric mixer. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy after each addition. Add eggs and beat until thick and pale lemon in color. Sift dry ingredients; add alternately with bananas; blend thoroughly after each addition.
- Grease bottom only of a 4-1/2 x 8-1/2 x 3-inch loaf pan. Turn batter into pan. Bake in 350°F oven for 60 to 70 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean and dry.
- Let bread partially cool in pan (20 to 30 minutes) before turning onto rack. Makes 1 full loaf.
Depending on how many over-ripe bananas you have this bread can handle up to 1 & 1/2 cups of mashed bananas, in fact, I prefer it with the larger amount of bananas. If you use really ripe bananas your bread will have plenty of banana flavor, but a little vanilla never hurt anything, You can add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract which perfectly complements all the banana flavors. Chopped walnuts, or chocolate chips, also make a great addition.