Food for Soul

Who invented the banana split?

banana split
Buy NowWhen taking a spoonful of banana split, some people may ponder where this sweet reward came from. Banana splits are delectable desserts that may have originated in Pennsylvania, but are now known across the globe.Ron Windgard Photography Photo

ROCK SPRINGS — Ice cream aficionados enjoy it in many different forms — from cups to cones — but sundaes truly can be the ultimate treats. The impressive and often enormous “banana split” may be the king of all sundaes, with ice cream shops scooping them out in record numbers when the weather warms. Because banana splits are so large, they’re often the perfect desserts to share on date night.

When taking a spoonful of banana split, some people may ponder where this sweet reward came from. As with many food origin stories, various people lay claim as the inventor of the banana split. A trusted historical account points to Latrobe, Pennsylvania, as the home of the first banana split. Legend has it that Latrobe pharmacy owner David Strickler sliced a banana in two, added scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, three kinds of flavored toppings, and whipped cream in 1904. Strickler also enlisted the help of a glassmaker to create the first “banana boat” vessel to house his newfangled dessert.

Other cities, including Boston and Wilmington, Ohio, also claim to be birthplaces of this beloved dessert. In fact, Wilmington holds fast to its banana split creation story and even hosts the annual Banana Split Festival.

Even though these dessert giants battled it out as banana split inventors, Walgreens pharmacy ultimately is credited with helping to make banana splits popular across the country after adopting the dish as the pharmacy’s signature dessert.

There’s never a wrong time to enjoy a banana split, but they’re especially tempting in summer. Dig into these other fun banana split and ice cream facts.

— The banana scientifically is classified as a berry because a berry must contain seeds inside the flesh and not outside.

— Around 0.074 pounds of bananas per person per day are consumed in the United States.

— The first banana split cost 10 cents. That may seem like a bargain, but it was double the cost of other sundaes.

— Romans purportedly sent people into the mountains to collect snow that they flavored with fruits and juices to create an early version of ice cream.

— Around 50% of the volume of ice cream is air, which gives the dessert its light and creamy texture.

— You’ll want to make your banana split with a ripe, yellow banana. A green banana starts out very starchy. As the fruit yellows, the starch turns into sugars.

— A traditional recipe for a banana split contains around 1,000 calories. Dairy Queen lists their banana split at 510 calories per serving.

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