Food and Dining

Does the picture above look weirdly appealing or kind of gross?

Turns out for some Kentuckians — particularly those from Central and Western Kentucky — bananas rolled in mayonnaise and peanuts are an essential holiday side dish.

WFPL Arts and Culture Reporter Ashlie Stevens dove deep into the tradition of “banana croquettes” back in 2016, even going so far as to buy the three necessary ingredients and make them herself. And she also found out a little bit about the origin of the dish:

“[Cookbook author Maggie] Green explains that during the late 19th and early 20th century, the United Fruit Company — now Chiquita Banana — would import bananas from South America into two main ports: New Orleans and Charleston.

“The New Orleans port is the connection to Kentucky because there was a railroad line that went from New Orleans all the way up to Chicago,” Green says. “So they would load the bananas onto rail cars and head out for Chicago, and they’d have to be put on ice.”

So, the rail cars would stop in Fulton County, the westernmost tip of Kentucky, where the only icehouse on the route to Chicago was situated.”

You can listen to the piece above, or read more here.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.