Going Bananas!

May 14th, 2020

Banana Bread is the Official Baked Good During COVID19



Today’s blog is by Gayl Southard, Administrative Assistant it SafeSourcing.

Banana bread has become the unofficial baked good of COVID-19. It seems like everyone is making it. Google searches surged the week of March 15—right after the federal government announced a state of emergency due to COVID-19, and the first week many people were staying at home full-time because of social distancing. Pinterest shows a similar surge in user interest for banana bread recipes starting on March 24. Views of all banana bread recipes surpassed 1 million just in the week of March 29 through April 4. But the question remains: Why did banana bread in particular become the baking status symbol?

This is not the first time in history when people turned to banana bread. Food historian Sarah Wassberg Johnson says that the first time anyone made banana bread was likely during the Great Depression. This was another time of extreme economic and social hardship for most Americans. It was thought a housewife had some bananas that were going bad and decided to try and make bread out of it. The ingredients are cheap, bananas are easy to find regardless of the season. Bananas are easy to work with because they are soft. Banana bread doesn’t require proofing, kneading, or rolling. It’s an easy recipe for a novice.

“Fast forward to today, and pandemic aside, there are some pretty clear parallels between the Great Depression and now. Twenty-two million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past four weeks, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that the current global recession will be more severe than both the Global Financial Crisis of 2009 and the Great Depression. Yet to Johnson’s point, banana bread ingredients—eggs, flour or alt-flour, eggs, etc.—are still cheap and relatively easy to find, making it friendly to a variety of budgets. (In March 2020, the average price per pound of fresh bananas was $0.58.)”1

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1 Emily Laurence, Healthy Cooking, 4/16/2020



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