Fred Sauceman, associate professor of Appalachian studies at East Tennessee State University, is editing Cornbread Nation 5: The Best of Southern Food Writing, and is looking for stories and recipes for banana croquettes.
“They seem to be popular in the Bowling Green area. I hadn’t heard about them until about a year and a half ago: bananas rolled in mayonnaise (sometimes thinned with milk) and then in crushed peanuts. Not cooked at all.”
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Here’s a reply from Donalene Sapp Poduska of Cleveland Heights, OH.
When I saw what Prof. Sauceman had to say about banana croquettes, it brought a smile to my face. I had never heard them called this. I think of croquettes as being fried, such as salmon croquettes (to be eaten with cornbread and, in my childhood, white beans (no more though at my age of 71!) or spinach (with a touch of cider vinegar and chopped egg on top).
I always just thought of them as “Mrs. Ham’s salad bananas.” In my teens, our youth group at High Street Christian Church (aka Tates Creek Christian Church) would have potluck suppers every now and then. Our mothers got to be known for certain things. Mrs. Ham made the delicious bananas that were covered with just enough mayo (in my family that meant Miracle Whip) to hold the crushed peanuts on the piece of banana. Over the years I have often spread a piece of banana with peanut butter on one side to eat for a snack. I thought of Mrs. Ham one day, and so tried — banana spread thinly with peanut butter and rolled in chopped peanuts. Good!
There is one other way that I have used bananas and peanut butter together. This came from my mother. We called it “banana mush.” It came about when bananas became very ripe. Take one and mash it up well. Add to it peanut butter and mix it up. Add peanut butter until it gets to be a nice consistency to spread on graham crackers. I would use this as a treat for our three kids on Sunday evenings, usually. Now, I’ll use my half of a banana (my husband eats his half plain!) to make this and have for breakfast.
Michael Yopp of San Diego responds:
I had no idea these tasty treats had a name, or that anyone outside my family made them.
I have loved these since I was a kid. Both of my parents grew up in
Kentucky (Paducah and Henderson). I was fortunate enough to grow up
close enough (Carbondale, IL) to my extended Kentucky family that we
spent all major holidays at my grandmother’s house in Henderson.
Banana croquettes were always a part of holiday meals.
I am now in San Diego, but every time I visit my parents in Lexington
for the holidays, I always request a plate of banana croquettes.
When in college I was actually shocked to learn that these were
nothing more than bananas covered in mayo and then covered in
peanuts. Sounds disgusting, but they always remind me of Kentucky and
spending time with family during the holidays. We always just called
them bananas…now I know they have a real name.