Testing One of the Most Unhinged Recipes on the Internet

There’s no shortage of tantalizing recipes from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s online, from tomato juice-infused Jell-O to frozen cheese salad. But few are as annoying as banana and ham casserole. It’s just as baffling as it sounds: bananas covered in mustard, wrapped in ham, smothered in cheese sauce and baked. I had to try it myself, and the results were… unexpected, to say the least.

Gathering the ingredients was the first challenge, even though I had most of what I needed at home. The recipe called for poached ham, but since I wasn’t planning on eating a whole ham, I went with cold cuts instead. I also wondered why it was so important to use “green-headed” bananas, but I figured it was probably because of the extra acidity – or maybe it was just ensuring that the bananas wouldn’t turn to absolute mush in the oven.

The hardest part of the recipe was making the cheese sauce, and it wasn’t even that hard. Butter, flour, salt, milk, and cheddar cheese all come together to make a completely unseasoned sauce. I thought of adding pepper or something, anything To give this recipe a little more flavor, I resisted the urge to press.

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My favorite part of making this recipe was spreading the pork chops with mustard and wrapping them around the bananas. Yes, bananas topped with ham look exactly as you’d think bananas topped with ham would look like, and when they were all put together in a casserole dish, they looked like they came straight out of an X-rated horror movie.


I poured more melted butter over the ham-topped bananas per the instructions and then mixed it with the cheese sauce – it seemed somehow less appetizing after I completed this process. Then, in the oven went “casserole”. I waited 15 minutes impatiently. I must admit the smell of banana bread was not bad. It reminded me of baking banana bread, though I was noticeably less excited than I would be for a slice of banana bread.

The timer churns, and the moment of truth finally arrives. I took some pictures, of course, but that would only delay the inevitable for so long. Actually I had to give it a try. I had to put a pork-wrapped banana covered in sad cheese sauce in my mouth, chew and swallow. I did this for myself. You asked for this. This was the moment of truth.

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The bananas got really soft in the oven, but the ham had just froze, so it was hard to slice. Once I managed to get a bite-sized piece onto my fork, I took a bite. Readers, don’t get me wrong, but I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Baked bananas are objectively good, so I wasn’t surprised that the sweet banana taste was pleasant. The addition of ham wasn’t as awful as you might think, especially when you think of the age-old combo of ham and pineapple on pizza—it’s not much different when you think about it. The mustard added flavor (which was much needed here). Truthfully, I could have done without the cheese sauce because it was so bland, but since there was so much butter in the sauce, it wasn’t offensive at all.

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Looking at the picture of this pork and banana casserole, you might assume that people who have made this recipe in the past had a terrible taste. Admittedly, this recipe isn’t the best, and I won’t be making it for friends and family. But you can’t really assume you’ll hate something until you try it for yourself. The Banana Meat Casserole wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and if you really like bananas (I don’t), it’s probably at least a solid recipe.

Moral of the story? Don’t judge a book by its cover, I guess. Or perhaps more importantly, the moral of the story is that covering anything in half a stick of butter will make it taste good — even bananas wrapped in ham.

Samantha Maxwell is a Boston-based food writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter at @employee.


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