Today, February 23, is National Banana Bread Day. While banana bread (as we now know it) became a staple among home bakers in the 1930s, banana bread had its start in the late Victorian era where “banana flour” came to the United States from the tropics. Vintage newspaper advertisements show the beginnings of banana bread available in bakeries and homemakers’ awareness of quality nutrition to be found in the imported fruit and “flour.” With or without nuts, banana bread is a hallmark of American quick breads… and our nineteenth century ancestors, complete with baking powder and a wealth of cake-baking knowledge, were prepared for the post-Great Depression’s urge to “use it up.”
Harvest Celebrations from the mid- to latter-half of the 19th century, as reported in newspapers in the United States, show the different types of “Harvest Customs” celebrated. Some customs and words were borrowed from various German immigrants, others were simple gatherings after the work of the harvest with time for thanksgiving and gratitude for adequate (or abundant) food to last until next harvest season.