Today in Food History

NationalBananaBreadDay

Today is National Banana Bread Day. Banana bread is a delicious baked good, which is classified as a “quick bread” or “tea cake.” Bananas arrived in the United States in the 1870s and quickly became one of the most popular fruits on the market. It wasn’t long before they started to appear in dessert recipes as the star ingredient.

The first cookbooks that mentioned banana bread were published during the Great Depression. Culinary historians believe that a resourceful housewife who did not want to throw away over-ripe bananas may have invented the original recipe. Also, on this day:

-In 1603 Andrea Cesalpino died. An Italian philosopher and botanist, he helped establish botany as a separate science. He concentrated on fruits and seeds, and he classified them by logical principles, instead of their supposed medical properties.

-In 1850 Cesar Ritz was born in Niederwald, Switzerland. He managed the Grand Hotel in Monte Carlo and the Grand Hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland. He also worked with Escoffier at the Savoy and Carlton in London. In 1898 he opened the first hotel with his name, The Ritz Hotel in Paris. His name and his hotels became synonymous with the luxury.

-In 1884 Casimir Funk was born (died Nov 19, 1967). Funk was a Polish-American biochemist who realized certain substances in food were essential for good health, He called them ‘vitamines’ later changed to ‘vitamins.’

-In 1944 Leo Hendrik Baekeland was born. He was a chemist who invented Bakelite, the first plastic that did not soften when heated. Those black plastic knobs on stoves were made of bakelite.

“Most of us have fond memories of food from our childhood. Whether it was our mom’s homemade lasagna or a memorable chocolate birthday cake, food has a way of transporting us back to the past.” — Homaro Cantu

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