It was on this day in 1876 that the U.S. first fell in love with the banana, when it was introduced at the World’s Fair in Philadelphia. Though, back then, eating a banana was quite a bit different than it is today. Plus: on National Doughnut Day, we mark the moment in 2012 when festival-goers in Ukraine proved doughnuts were as good for art as they were for snack time.
10 Things You Might Not Know About the 1876 Centennial Exhibition (Philadelphia Magazine)
As Groucho Marx said, time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
It was on this day in 1876 that the US first fell in love with the banana.
The yellow fruit had been in the country for over a decade, but it wasn’t widely eaten.
But that changed with the World’s Fair in Philadelphia, the first world’s fair to be held in the US and one that popularized a number of other foods that would become culinary staples, including Hires root beer and Heinz ketchup.
Eating bananas was a little different back then.
For one thing, each one cost ten cents, worth around two dollars in today’s money.
And they were sold without the peel, wrapped in paper or foil and pre-sliced.
The extremely buttoned-up Victorian era didn’t like the shape, you see.
So people ate them with a knife and fork, but ate them nonetheless, and the banana began its rise to the top of the American fruit chain.
This was the same world’s fair at which millions of people saw the telephone for the first time, and while it might seem amazing to think that the banana would strike the same chord in some fairgoers as Alexander Graham Bell’s invention, that’s how it felt to at least one visitor.
He would write years later that at age seven, he was fascinated that he could buy and eat, right there in Philadelphia, a fresh fruit that grew far away.
“To my young and impressionable mind,” he said, “this was the most romantic of all the innumerable things I had seen at any of the vast buildings.”
The story of the banana gets very complicated after that, but check out the links above to pick up the story.
Today is National Doughnut Day – aren’t there like several of those?
Anyway, it’s worth mentioning that doughnuts make good snacks and good art.
A group of festival-goers in Ukraine proved this in 2012, when they put more than 7,000 in place to set a world record for the largest doughnut mosaic.
And then proceeded to serve and eat the doughnuts, which probably made them contenders for biggest sugar high of the year, too.