Bananas…the icky kind

I belong to a Facebook group that features recipes.  Someone posted this picture of bananas that were past their prime.  They asked what they could make besides banana bread.  That brought a smile to my face.

My immediate response was pancakes!!  I’m guessing that’s not what you were thinking I’d say.

Let me tell you a little story.

Growing up, my mom took bananas like these, and she would smash a couple of them, add a little sugar and a little milk then stir it up.  She’d make pancakes and we’d pour the banana mixture over the pancakes just like you might put syrup or mashed strawberries on your pancakes.

I vaguely knew that other people had syrup on their pancakes but I thought it was entirely normal for people to eat pancakes with mashed bananas on top.

Fast forward.  Kramer and I got married.  It was 1986.  I was a young bride of 20 and I was trying to keep the grocery budget low.  I asked Kramer one night what he might like for supper.  He said, “How about pancakes?”  Great idea I told him, only I didn’t have bananas so I couldn’t make them.

He didn’t say anything…we moved on and had something else for supper.

A week or so later I was getting groceries and saw bananas were discounted as they were past their prime and I bought some bananas thinking I would pancakes like Kramer previously suggested.

I was the proud little wife.  I was so happy to be making my husband the supper that he requested.  I happily made the pancakes.  I happily made the banana mush.  I put it all on the table so pleased with myself.

Kramer grabbed some pancakes.  I grabbed some too.  I loaded mine with bananas.  He got up and went to the refrigerator.  I didn’t know what he was doing.  He got the butter and then asked, “Where is the syrup?”

I said, “What?”.  He said, “Where is the syrup?”  AHHH!!  I completely forgot that other people use syrup.  It was so normal to me to have pancakes with bananas on top.  Oh my.  I had to tell him we didn’t have any syrup.

He looked at me odd…then looked at my plate and asked me what I was doing.  He had never seen anyone have pancakes with bananas on top.

I explained to him that this is how my family ate pancakes.  He looked at me like I was pretty weird.

Then Kramer, who never cooked at all, walked to the cabinet, pulled out brown sugar, white sugar, and a saucepan, and started to make syrup.  His recipe was:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water

Bring it to a boil.  Pour over pancakes.

We learned a lot from that little incident.  We learned that even though we thought we’d both come from farm families with moms that did the cooking and caretaking of the home, we still didn’t grow up completely the same.  We’d have to do a lot of compromising and discussing along the way to make our own normal…especially when it came time to raise the kids.

So you might wonder what tradition our family came up with for pancakes…
Part of the kids pancakes with bananas…part don’t.  When I make pancakes we have both Kramer’s homemade syrup and my bananas.

I had to really laugh one day when my brother came to visit.  I made pancakes…I made bananas for the pancakes.  He was so happy.  He said he had forgotten all about having bananas on pancakes.   Once he had it again, he said he missed that.

Isn’t it crazy the little things that make home, home?

Another thing my mom did with bananas…
She would slice them into round slices, put a teaspoon of brown sugar on the top and then we’d pour milk on that and eat it for dessert.  Another crazy thing my mom did.

Mom told me that both of the banana traditions came from her family when she grew up.  I’ll have to ask my cousins on my mom’s side if any of their moms used bananas that way.  I’m guessing not as mom was the only girl in a passel of boys.  Traditions like that usually pass through the moms.

So…my curious mind wants to know…Does anyone else have a family tradition of putting mashed bananas over pancakes??

45 thoughts on “Bananas…the icky kind”

  1. I live in The Netherlands and I have never had mashed up bananas on my pancakes, we just slice them up and have them on top with maple syrup. I am originally from Canada so that is where the maple syrup twist comes from.
    I know for a fact that if we are having pancakes or waffles for breakfast in the morning we are probably the only family in our town that is eating this. Most people are eating bread with toppings on it like chocolate sprinkles, chocolate spread, peanut butter or jam. We eat pancakes here generally for lunch or dinner. Real thin ones like crepes or one big thick one with something like apples and bacon on it.
    My bananas are saved for muffins or cake.

  2. We didn’t do the pancake bananas but we did slice up the bananas and have them with milk but we used white sugar. I don’t know if that was a farm thing ( my mom grew up on a farm) or because I was a spoiled child and was a way to get me to eat bananas !

  3. Suzanne Yerks

    I have not had bananas on pancakes but in the pancakes. My Mom used to slice bananas lengthwise, melt butter in a pan and sauté them, then put a top vanilla ice cream. That was delicious

  4. Judith Fairchild

    No bananas on pancakes but I have mashed and put them in the. Batter with nuts and spices just like banana bread. They went over very well. All most always had homemade syrup growing up.

  5. We always had them for tea with white sugar and lemon juice and I still serve them that way. I have never made them for breakfast although I think perhaps younger people do. As a child I had mashed bananas on toast with a sprinkle of sugar on top. Don’t know if Mum used overripe bananas though. Possibly as nothing was ever wasted or thrown away. Food rationing in the war was too ingrained in the memory. My sister was born in 1939 and didn’t see a banana until she was 8 years old (the time I was born) so I’m sure bananas would have been far too precious to throw away when the skins started to get brown spots!

  6. My mom would do the brown sugar thing like Kramer. My grandparents had a peach orchard so we would have slice peaches and bananas.

  7. I’ve never heard of bananas on pancakes, just in them! My mother came from German stock and we used to squeeze the juice from lemons over pancakes and sprinkle them with white sugar. This is still my favorite way to eat them!

  8. Maple syrup all the way. My dad like maple syrup and butter. Mom might cut up fruit for an additional topping. I am going to try the banana cookie recipe you posted last year…this is a timely post as my bananas are spotty.

  9. Joy in NW Iowa

    I still make my own syrup with white or dark syrup, white sugar, dark brown sugar, and water. Bring to a boil, simmer and add a little maple flavoring. My daughter-in-law ran out of syrup and our son said…make some. She has never bought syrup again. But now they even have better….they have some maple trees they to in the spring for the syrup. We did have sliced bananas with milk and sugar at home; I had totally forgotten about that! Thanks for the memory!

  10. Not pancakes, but my mother would slice bananas lengthwise, put a little Mayo (Miracle Whip) on them and serve on lettuce for a salad. It was great!

    1. My mom did that, too! Except not on a bed of lettuce and she would sprinkle chopped pecans on them. And ALWAYS Miracle Whip, not mayo.

  11. We didn’t have pancakes with bananas on top, but we did eat bananas with milk and added a slice of
    white bread torn into bite size chunks with a little white sugar, and called it banana soup. It’s fun to hear all the different traditions.

  12. Anita L Jackson

    I’ve not mashed them to serve over pancakes, but have used them to make fritters with confectioner’s sugar sprinkled over them. (Kind of like those fair goodies). And I do take them out of the peel and put into the freezer if I’m not baking right away. Those mushy frozen bananas are so good for smoothies – Already frozen!!!!

  13. We never served pancakes as you did, but my mom would spread a little Miracle Whip or mayo on top of bananas sliced in half lengthwise, and then sprinkled with chopped pecans. Those were a real treat.

  14. I’ve never had mashed bananas on pancakes, but I’ve put them in pancake batter (yummy!). Growing up, we ate pancakes with store-bought syrup, but if we ran out, Mom would make a batch of sugar syrup with maple flavoring added. Now I eat pancakes with peanut butter and berries on top–or sliced bananas–and a tiny drizzle of real maple syrup.

  15. I stayed at a friends house and her mother sliced bananas and put orange juice over them and we ate them at breakfast. It was very good.

  16. Diana in Des Moines

    My grandparents were poor as my grandpa was a coal miner in southern Iowa. Many things my mom made when I was young were weird compared to others kids. My favorite is macaroni and tomatoes. Macaroni, canned tomatoes, butter, salt and pepper. I still make it and my hubby has come to love it.
    I will have to try the bananas. Sounds good!!

  17. No bananas on pancakes here. My mom would smash the ripe ones and make peanut butter and banana sandwiches instead of jelly. It was a real treat. No extra sugar added. She would also cut them up in our corn flakes when we had cereal for breakfast.

    1. Yes! We would eat bananas on our Rice Krispies! I’d forgotten that! And peaches on Corn Flakes. Mmmm.

  18. My MIL was an avid pie baker. So when I first made an apple pie with no top crust, just crumbles like my Mom used to make, my new husband said, that’s not an apple pie. We put mashed bananas into the pancake mix. They bake up nicely.

  19. I love bananas, in banana bread, banana muffins, banana cake, banana pudding, banana’s in my pancakes with real maple syrup, banana’s foster, banana splits, bananas on any kind of cereal, banana with other fruit in my plain yogurt or just a banana eaten in hand. If I have some that are going soft I mash and freeze them in the amount needed for my banana bread recipe. I eat a banana everyday.

  20. I have made my own maple syrup for years. Two cup white sugar, 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and boil for a few minutes. Then take off stove and add 1 teaspoon Mapleine maple flavoring. When cool, pour into an empty syrup bottle or other similar container. Put in refrigerator to keep. Tastes exactly like boughten maple syrup. I have not poured banana over my pancakes, but that sounds very good.

  21. No, never did have bananas on my pancakes, but it sounds good! Your blog today reminded me of a fond memory. I spent a year in Australia as an exchange student nearly 48 years ago. Mum used to make a simple dessert for after tea (dinner) — sliced bananas, a tiny bit of sugar over the top and some cream poured over it. LOVED IT. Haven’t had that since I left Australia — now I need to make it again. My Australian parents live in a senior care village now. Mum has Alzheimers, and Dad walks over 3 times a day to the high care facility on site to be sure Mum gets the right meals & nothing she can’t eat due to health restrictions. America could learn a LOT about medical care and senior care from Australia!

  22. When our bananas were overripe, would mash them in a glass with a fork, add a bit of sugar, vanilla and milk. I guess that was the fore runner of a smoothie. Cannot tolerate an over ripe banana to eat, so this wa a solution. Of course banana bread and muffins. But one banana, becomes a “smoothie/shake”.

  23. I always call bananas “nature’s safe snack” as we could find them anywhere in the tropics and eat them safely on the road. In the 80″s I worked in Haiti and at that time they worked straignt through till 2.30pmish, so everyone in our office knew that I brought packages of WASA crackers in my suitcase and would eat them with bananas to tie me over the time that my body wanted lunch.
    Now the ripe bananas go into my yoghurt or smoothies.

  24. Barbara Vannet

    My hubster is the breakfast cook at our house. He loves to use over the hill bananas in his waffle batter. Banana waffles, yum!

    1. Banana cream pie was always a special treat, but not with over-ripe bananas. Those were used in banana cake or banana bars with lemon icing. We had bananas on cereal or in a dish with sugar and milk, but never on pancakes. The comment about Mapleine syrup hit home! Mom poured it into a little Anchor Hocking pitcher for serving. The day I saw the same pitcher at a thrift store it had to come home with me. Thanks once again for a trip down memory lane.

  25. Stirred the memories with this story!! Never had bananas -mushed over pancakes!! I loved fresh strawberries that were left from the night before Strawberry shortcake with biscuits–on my pancakes the next morning!! I recall Karo Syrup –(I think on our pancakes) it came in a can?? Long time ago!! Never had fruit in the pancakes either–mainly cause just didn’t buy fresh fruit in the war years. Mom started me with sliced bananas with cream and sugar on them– yummy–still fix them that way!! Also with cereal. But MY favorite of all on my pancakes is left over gravy from pot roasts. Dad tapped the maple trees too–so we would have maple syrup!! I am sure mom probably made syrup too-and I would make like Kramer’s!!
    How can I send you a zucchini recipe JO??? send in comments ?? I have seen your e-mail, but not for awhile -so not sure about that. Anne from NE Iowa –a few towns west!!

  26. Crepes with sliced bananas in them and chocolate. I have had sliced banana on top of pancakes but not usually mashed. I also love peanut butter and banana sandwiches with a little bit of honey. My grandkids think I am crazy for that one.

  27. Not bananas over pancakes, but we did/do eat them cut up in a bowl with milk and brown sugar like you! I also freeze older bananas in batches of 3, for banana bread, when I have an abundance of them.

  28. My mother made the syrup and put some maple flavoring in it. As kids, we ate lots of sandwiches made with mashed bananas and peanut butter. I tried it after I was grown and hated it. Tastes change.

  29. Becky Gilliam

    I grew up on a farm, and Mom made a spice cake layers and used 2 bananas mashed and mix into the mix a box of powdered sugar. This was the icing for her spice cake, and then she would arrange pecans around the top to make it pretty. She called it her ‘War Cake’ as she learned the recipe during WW2 when housewives learned to ‘make do’ without a lot of extras for their kitchen. Sorry to say the spice cake layers recipe passed away with her and I have been unable to re-create it. We did make our own maple syrup from white sugar & water and maple flavoring – can’t beat that warm syrup over warm pancakes or waffles.

  30. We didn’t eat mashed bananas on pancakes, but we often had sliced bananas with white sugar and cream on top for dessert. My favorite has always been peanut butter on pancakes, rolled up … yum!

  31. I honestly can’t recall ever having a banana get overripe while I was at home. Bananas were one fruit my dad would eat without it being in a pie. He loved banana cream pie but wasn’t a big fan of banana bread. I liked to slice them and pour Hershey’s Syrup over them. My mom would make home made syrup occasionally if she ran out of Karo. I remember thinking we were living high when she started buying Log Cabin syrup instead of Karo.

  32. I’ve never heard of mashed bananas over pancakes. Mama made white sugar, water and maple flavoring as syrup. We must have been out of sugar one time I remember having canned peach slices and a little powdered sugar on top and a spoon of whipped cream. (We lived down the road from a dairy and we got fresh milk that always had at least 4” of cream on the top of the gallon pickle jars) Mama said it was a very fancy way to eat pancakes and we were sold!

    My kids were raised on a smear of butter and some jam. They loved pb&j sandwiches made with leftover pancakes. Apparently, they were good as gold for trading during school lunches. I also used to make extras for the freezer. Pop into the toaster for quick school day breakfasts. Same with French toast. Which my auntie from Kansas called it fried egg bread which for some reason we thought it was hilarious.

  33. Beatriz Medina

    Well, I live in Brazil. Here, bananas are a staple. And the bananas in the picture aren’t icky for us; they are in the perfect state to be eaten. Ripe bananas have black spots, it’s the way they are. All-yellow bananas are green and not so good to eat.

  34. Cynthia Gossage

    We never had bananas ON pancakes (although often IN) them, but my mom also sliced bananas and sprinkled sugar – and added canned evaporated milk, not regular – for dessert!

  35. Jackie Trembley

    Well I thought your story was going to end up with what I put on pancakes- a sort of combo of what you and your husband both like(d), lol! I slice the bananas then sauté them in butter in a frying pan. Then I add brown sugar, some vanilla, and a little half and half or heavy cream and sauté until the sauce is thickened. Pour that delicious mixture over the pancakes!

  36. We didn’t do the banana thing, but my mom always made the syrup like Kramer, adding maple flavoring. I was in high school before I had store bought syrup!

  37. Gosh, I hadn’t heard of the pancake option! I make many mini loaves of banana nut bread around Christmas. It was a specialty of my husband’s mom. I have to shop and plan to have many “sets” of ripe bananas for the baking. Bananas that are just short of rotten are the best!

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