A Banana Split has always been the luxury liner of frozen desserts. I’ve had only one in my lifetime. It was at the soda fountain at People’s Drug Store in Washington DC. I bought it as a kid and it took such a large percentage of my weekly allowance, that I never indulged again.
But my friend, Cyndy, permits herself an annual extravangance at Central Dairy. The old Jefferson City creamery holds fond memories for Central Missouri families. This week during her annual pilgrimage, her husband photographed the event while slurping a more modest lime sherbet. Somebody had to drive home, right?
The so-called Mile High Banana Split that Cyndy tackled was more ample than my childhood version. I was especially disappointed to see the classic dessert served in a plastic container and swaddled in wrapping paper. The old-fashion splits came in a glass boat with a real spoon, giving the creamy creation the dignity it so richly deserved.
The Real Scoop
The first Banana Split was designed back in 1904 at a drugstore in the small town of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The original recipe called for a banana sliced lengthwise; a scoop each of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream; 2 tablespoons each of strawberry topping, pineapple topping and whipped cream; 1 tablespoon each of chopped nuts and chocolate syrup; and 2 maraschino cherries with stems. The price was 10 cents, which was twice what the store’s other ice creams cost.
Should you need an excuse for a bit of summer decadence, mark your calendar for August 25—National Banana Split Day. But anytime you’re looking for some nostalgia to accompany your ice cream, Fountain on Locust, Crown Candy and Ted Drewes have the creds to dish up memories. If you want to skip the nostalgia, you can get a 21st century update from a carton of Ben & Jerry’s Banana Split.
And, now, checking back on Cyndy in that small booth at Central Dairy in Jefferson City . . .
“I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing”
Spoiler Alert: I would be remiss if I neglected to mention that a genuine Banana Split has between 500-1000 calories and more than 30 grams of fat. Definitely a special occasion treat.