June 16, 2006

UFCO Banana Cookbook

The United Fruit Company name existed from 1899 until 1970. They were the largest banana empire in history.

According to The United Fruit Historical Society, in 1939 "United Fruit's Home Economics Department published the first school teacher manual entitled "A Study of the Banana: The Everyday Use and Food Value." The manual gave a detailed description of the food value of bananas and gave suggestions of preparation. The success of this manual led the company to publish other school manuals in the following years for elementary to high-school students.

Between 1955 and 1962 United Fruit published around 15 million pieces of literature for students in elementary grades through high school to promote the learning of bananas and the health benefits of their consumption. These manuals were also distributed in schools around the world."

The cover of the booklet shown here, A Study of the Banana (not dated, 24 pp) states that it's a Student's Manual on the front cover. In my opinion, the illustrations inside appear to be from the late 1930s or the early 1940s.

Many of the dishes in this particular booklet (which contains 21 recipes) don't sound very appetizing: Banana Scallops, Bananas Au Gratin, Banana Rice Patties, Banana Meat Loaf and Banana Salmon Salad.

Others sound a little more palatable: Banana Cream Pie, Banana Fruit Cup, Banana Gelatin Dessert, Banana Spice Cake and Banana Tea Bread.

The illustrations and drawings are in black and white.


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