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The Banana Split Book
by Michael Turback
In 1904, the bananasplit was created in Latrobe, PA, a small town in the
foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, by David Strickler, an apprentice pharmacist.
Strickler enjoyed concocting new sundae creations at the Tassel Pharmacy where he was
employed. One day, his dalliance with the tropical banana, sliced down the middle for
easier eating, gave way to a flabbergasting fountain creation. Juxtaposing three scoops
of different flavors of ice cream on the banana halves, he added three dollops of fruit
syrups and the banana split was born. The rest as the say is history.
Turback, a restauranteur, food historian, and ice cream expert, begins with a fascinating
history of the banana and moves on to the brilliant marriage of bananas and ice cream.
He details the popularization of this wonderful creation and the subsequent imitators,
like Charles Rudolph Walgree, who opened a soda fountain along one wall of his drug
store to boost business.
When it comes to banana split, Turback leaves no banana unpeeled. It's all here - the
history, the folklore, the quirky tidbits, the humorous quotes, and even a little
controversy, thanks to the town of Wilmington, Ohio who refuses to relinquish their
claim to the creation of the banana split that they hold a yearly festival celebrating
their claim to fame.
Turback spent over a year researching, traveling, scouring, and tasting his way across
America (a.k.a. Banana Splitsville),leaving no diner, luncheonette, restaurant, or
soda fountain unexamined. The result of his time-consuming but taste-filled journey -
150 verwsions, or recipes, of the Banana Split from: "The Rocket," a vertical banana
split at Pioneer Drug Store in Elk Point, South Dakota, to the "Moneky Love Banana Split,"
a tempura-fried version at Baleen in Coconut Grove, Florida.
From the low brow Bigger Than Bill (Mullen's Dairy Bar, Watertown, WI),to the high brow,
Le Banana Split (Isobel, Brooklyn, NY), to the international Samui Banana Split (Blue
Lagoon, Ko Samui, Thailand), these recipes prove that while other desserts nerely age, the banana
split has been diversifying, updating, and wowing ice cream and banana lovers anew.
Review by Cindy Sanchez:
Wow, I had no idea that my lack of Banana Split knowledge ran so deep! Having grown up
savoring the original Walgreen's concoction, I never would have fathomed that there
existed so many versions of David Strickler's original creation.
Michael Turback does a marvelous job in detailing every curved corner of the Banana Split
dish. No weighted down reading here, just good old light-hearted Banana
Split history and more...so grab that long-handled spoon and dig in!
About the Author: Michael Turback is considered the "top banana" of American iced cream history
and folklore. He is also the author of A Month Of Sundaes (Red Rock Press, 2002).
For nearly decades he opened "Turback's of Ithaca," an award-winning restaurant, cited
bu Bon Appetit Magazine as "the restaurant for sampling the best of the Empire
State," and named by Wine enthusiast Magazine as "pne of the 60wine-friendliest
restaurants in America. Turback himself was named "Rising Star" in the hospitality industry
by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine.
A graduate of the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, Turback has
been a food writer, lecturer, wine judge and internet retailer. He lives in Ithaca, NY.
Let's Get Cooking!
While there are many reasons for teaching kids to cook -- less expensive than eating out, preserves family heritage, etc, the most important
reason is that by teaching your child to cook, you're giving him a better chance to be a healthy grown-up. Enabling your child with the ability
to appreciate freshness and to transform ingredients into tasty foods opens their eyes to making wiser choices about what to eat...