What could be a better treat for today than a banana split? Especially since it is National Banana Split Day! A banana split is a wonderful Ice cream dish that is served in a long bowl, called a boat. The original dessert, which was created in 1904 in Pennsylvania by an apprentice pharmacist named David Stickler, contains a banana split in half lengthwise and placed in the boat. Between the two halves there is a scoop of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. Crushed pineapples are placed on the vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup over the chocolate, and strawberries over the strawberry ice cream. Nuts are sprinkled over the entire dish, and then covered with whipped cream. A marrichio cherry tops the masterpiece.
Walgreens drug store, in Chicago, is credited with spreading the popularity of the banana split. The early drug stores operated by Charles Rudolph Walgreen in the Chicago area adopted the banana split as a signature dessert. Fountains in the stores proved to be drawing cards, attracting customers who might otherwise have been just as satisfied having their prescriptions filled at some other drug store in the neighborhood.
My father, who worked as a soda jerk in a drug store when he was a youngster, always bragged about his split making abilities, however I can't recall his actually proving his claims. Since they are a large dessert, it is best shared with a friend. I have always considered banana splits a very "special" dessert, and have only had a very few of them in my life. On such occasion was the day that I was to tell my son about the facts of life. Being a single mom I knew it was up to me to give "the talk". This didn't bother me, since as a nurse I explained the reproductive cycle routinely to area high schools. Since I wanted to make this a memorable event for my son, I thought what would be better than to share a banana split over the birds and bees.
I picked him up from school one day, took him to the local Dairy Queen, headed to an empty area and began to give the talk. Unbeknownst to me, a Nun from the area Catholic Church walked up behind me and began listening to my talk as well! I was properly embarrassed and my son couldn't stop laughing. These days, when I think about banana splits, I also think of the Nun, and The Talk, and get a large grin on my face.
So treat yourself to a nice banana split today, and if you see a Nun, buy one for her too, and enjoy Banana Split Day!