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A question about Banana Split Sundaes ... or really a question about the banana in sundaes

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What's the point of bananas in ice cream sundaes?

It doesn't really provide a textural contrast because the mushy banana simply mirrors the creaminess of the ice cream -- and in many ways gets lost in it.

It doesn't really provide much in terms of taste. Most bananas aren't sweet enough, or pronounced enough in flavor, to really add anything to the ice cream, fudge (or other sauce), whipped cream, toppings etc.

Or is it just there to be provide some nutritional value?

Maybe just for looks?

But seriously, why do people even bother with the banana in the ice cream sundaes?

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  1. I think they look quite cool, but they ruin a perfectly good sundae. And they slither about all over the place when you try to slice them with the side of your spoon. Nasty things.

    1. I think you're way overthinking this. The average purveyor and consumer of a banana split are following tradition without regard to culinary sensibilities.

      1. There is a textural difference between a banana and ice cream
        Bananas do have a strong taste (my husband hates it).
        The banana IMO, shouldn't be super sweet (or mushy), it should have a bit of tang to it, to contrast with the other overly sweet ingredients.
        There is a blending of flavors in the banana split, the vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, then add a banana. Yum. Otherwise it would be just neopolitan.

        We have a restaurant here that has specials, bring your own banana and you get a discount.

        2 Replies
        1. re: wyogal

          i haven't had a banana split - nor wanted one (until now, damn you) - in over 35 years, but I agree with all you've said. especially that bananas shouldn't be mushy.

          1. re: wyogal

            I agree, it's actually the tartness and firmness of a banana relative to ice cream that's key.

          2. To me, the banana is a wonderful addition, I like the flavor and texture, and it is a wonderful foil for the creaminess of the ice cream and the salted pistachios that I put on top. And, of course, banana and chocolate/caramel sauce are a great duo--I skip the strawberry ice cream and topping.

            1. You should use a "just ripe" firm banana. "Split" it and scoop on the ice cream syrup/sauce and whipped cream all topped with a cherry. Just like Jahn's used to make!!
              Heavenly!!!!!!!!!!!!