Test out one of the wildest recipes on the internet

There is no shortage of baffling recipes from the 1950s, 60s and 70s on the internet, ranging from tomato juice-infused gelatin to frozen cheese salad. But few are as shocking as the ham and banana casserole. It’s as baffling as it sounds: bananas smothered in mustard, wrapped in ham, smothered in cheese sauce and baked in the oven. 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 boiled ham, but since I didn’t intend to eat a whole ham, I opted for cured meats. I also wondered why it was important to use “green tip” bananas, but realized it was probably for the extra acidity, or maybe just to keep the bananas from turning into absolute mush in the oven.

The hardest part of the recipe was making the cheese sauce, and it wasn’t even that challenging. Butter, flour, salt, milk, and cheddar cheese all came together to create a completely unseasoned sauce. Thought I’d add pepper or something, everything to give this recipe more flavor, but I resisted the temptation for journalism’s sake.

My favorite part of making this recipe was smearing the ham slices with mustard and wrapping them around the bananas. Yep, ham-wrapped bananas look exactly like you’d think ham-wrapped bananas would look like, and when they all nestled together in their own casserole dish, they looked like they were straight out of an X-rated horror movie.


I poured more melted butter over the ham-wrapped bananas as directed and then slathered them with cheese sauce—somehow it looked even less appetizing after I completed this process. Then, the “casserole” went into the oven. I waited 15 minutes with bated breath. I have to admit the smell of the baked bananas wasn’t bad. It reminded me of baking banana bread, although I was definitely less excited than I would have been about a slice of banana bread.

The timer ticked and the moment of truth had finally arrived. I took some photos, of course, but that could only delay the inevitable for so long. I actually had to try it. I had to stuff a piece of banana wrapped in ham and covered in a sad cheese sauce into my mouth, chew and swallow. I had done it to myself. I asked for this. And this was my moment of truth.

The banana had gotten quite soft in the oven, but the ham had only hardened so it was hard to cut. Once I managed to get a bite sized piece on my fork, I took a bite. And, readers, don’t come for me, but I was pleasantly surprised with the result.

Baked bananas are objectively good on their own, so it didn’t surprise me that the sweet mash of the banana was enjoyable. The addition of ham wasn’t as egregious as you might think, especially when you consider the old combo of ham and pineapple on pizza—it’s not all that different when you think about it. The mustard added a bit of flavor (which was desperately needed here). Honestly, I could have done without the cheese sauce as it was so bland, but because there was so much butter in the sauce, it wasn’t offensive in the slightest.

Looking at a photo of the ham and banana casserole, you might assume that the people who made this recipe in the past tasted awful. Admittedly, this recipe isn’t the tastiest, nor would I make it for friends and family. But you can’t really assume you’re going to hate something until you try it yourself. The ham and banana casserole wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and if you’re really into bananas (I’m not), 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 with half a stick of butter will make it taste good, even ham-wrapped bananas.

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