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Banana Split // 1950s

The dreamy eyed teenager tucking into an ice cream sundae of some description in an American diner is an iconic image of the 1950s. This recipe features in Good Housekeeping's Cookery Compendium of 1959 and will transport you straight into that diner!
Original Recipe: 'Banana Split' (Book 7, 1959)
Speed: 5 minutes | Serves: 1


  • 1 banana

  • Vanilla ice cream (1 scoop)

  • Chocolate ice cream (1 scoop)

  • Chopped Nuts

  • Fresh Fruit

  • Melba Sauce



1. Cut a banana in half, lengthways and put in a glass dish.

Note: Of course, you can use a bowl of plate, but a glass sundae dish is what you really want. We were lucky - we found these two glass sundae dishes in a charity shop for 50p each. Not sure how old they are, but they look like they could be '50s or '60s to us!

2. Between the pieces of banana, place one scoop of vanilla ice cream and one of chocolate.

3. Pour some Melba Sauce over. Watch out, this stuff is seriously sweet - so use sparingly!

4. Decorate with chopped nuts and fresh fruit. We chopped up some hazelnuts, and for the fruit had blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, honeydew melon, apple, nectarine... a nice selection.

Note: Personal suggestion here: a good swirl of whipped cream, sprinkle of hundreds and thousands or the addition of wafers or flakes would add some jazz if you want a bit more decoration.

We've made this banana split twice now, the second (latest) time for the video recipe on our YouTube channel, and the first about a year before. The first time we did a couple of things differently, including:

  • Using a slightly different selection of fruits,

  • Added 1 extra scoop of vanilla ice cream (yum);

  • Served the sundae on plates (as this was before we found the glass dishes).

The pics below show how the sundae turned out both times 😊.


Original Recipe for 'Banana Split'

'BOOK 7': Good Housekeeping’s Cookery Compendium (1959)

Authors: The Good Housekeeping Institute

Publisher: The National Magazine Co. Ltd. And printed by Letterpress by Sun Printers Ltd. (Watford, England, U.K.)

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