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June 9, 2010

The Mid-Century Menu – Ham-Banana Casserole

By RetroRuth

Hoooweee. We really pulled out all the stops this week on the Mid-Century Menu. I can’t wait until you guys get a load of this one.  But I am getting ahead of myself. 


This week on the Mid-Century Menu, we are cooking out of this cute book we found while on a trip in the Petosky area earlier this year. (Go Morels!) It was published by McCall’s in 1972, and is a cookbook made up completely of, you guessed it, casseroles.  This cookbook is well laid out, easy to read and even though it doesn’t have a ton of pictures, has some cute illustrations. Some great classics are in here, but there are also some cringe-worthy funktastic concoctions that I loved.

Like Ham-Banana Casserole.

Okay, just….just hold on a minute here. Bananas. Wrapped in mustard slathered ham. Covered with cheese sauce.

Who the heck thought this would be a good idea?  Ummm…how about The Food Network? I can hear all your gasps of shock, but it is true.  While doing my research for this post (what little there was) I found out Paula Deen recently whipped up a ham and banana casserole on her show. She really did.  Granted, it was more of a breakfast strata with ham and banana (no mustard in sight), but still. Eww. Reviews seem to be pretty negative overall. Including this hilarious post at FoodNetworkHumor. Which made me really excited to try our version.

As a side note, one reviewer on Food Network hailed Ham-Banana Casserole as a “classic”.  Which begs the question, “A ‘classic’ what”? Waste of time and ingredients? Way to never have guests for dinner again? It certainly can’t be a time-honored, proven dish. Anybody chime in here. I know there is some Foodie out there just itching to put me in my place and regal us with the long and pointless history of the ham-banana casserole.

But once again, I digress.  As a reward for us choking down the Ham Whatsis Nonsense, I also decided to make us Flan as a treat.

Also from the McCall’s Casserole Cookbook.  The pictures on this one didn’t turn out, so sorry about that. The end result was kind of a bust texture-wise, but it tasted pretty okay. If you have a traditional Flan recipe, don’t drop it for this one.

And we are off!

Umm…can anyone figure out what I forgot to add to this picture??? Ding, ding! That’s right. Bananas. Nice move, me.  But don’t worry, you will see far more of them coming up than you want to. 

Also, the flan ingredients are pictured here, so you can stop shrieking about the sweetened condensed milk.  Mustard is going to be bad enough in the casserole, thank you very much.

Starting the white sauce.

Adding milk.  By the way, Tom photographed this whole thing, so thanks for that, Hon! 

A pretty good looking white sauce, if I do say so myself.

Check out this thick, creamy cheese sauce!  All this practice is paying off.  Too bad it is going to be slathered over bananas.

Mustarding ham. Poor, poor ham.

At this point Tom started laughing.  I was just glad he wasn’t crying.

At this point we both started laughing.  There is just something really…wrong about this.  The peeled bananas. The glistening pink of the ham.  It is almost…perverse.

And here I am brushing the banana ends with butter for some unknown reason in a completely useless step. 

And now everything is covered in cheese sauce.  Really, the only word for this is: Glorious.

“Can I have some ham?”

“I want to be a ham-wrapped banana!”

Ha ha. Oh, you kids.

Steaming fresh from the oven.

Tom, the bravest man in the world, taking the first bite.

“How horrible is it?”

“Bad.  It is really, really bad.”

I held my nose and took a bite.  Then I almost spit it out.  It was truly, terribly disgusting.  The ham, cheese sauce and mustard were all fine, but the hot, slimey banana (perverse again!) gave it a gross level of nastyness that can only come from a meal on the Mid-Century Menu.  I made it halfway through my piece.  Tom, in true form, laughed and ate all the rest. Disgusting.

The Verdict:  Truly disgusting.  Probably one of the worst Mid-Century Menu’s yet.  It wasn’t even the banana and ham, or the banana and cheese sauce, the banana and mustard was a horrible combination that I never want to choke down again.

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14 Responses to The Mid-Century Menu – Ham-Banana Casserole

  1. Inky Reply

    June 9, 2010 at 11:38 am

    i hate bananas so much that right now i am gagging and somehow my computer has developed smell-o-vision. BAAAARRRRRRFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF.

  2. Alex Reply

    June 9, 2010 at 11:43 am

    It’s like a cooking show featured in Hustler magazine. 😉

  3. Uncle Atom Reply

    June 9, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Bless you for your bravery Tom. You try this stuff so we don’t have to!

  4. Lorie B. Reply

    June 9, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Nasty has now risen to a wholenew level. God Bless you for this Mid-Century Menu ‘mission’. If anything, I have laughed myself to tears sometimes. What where these people THINKING???

    Oh, and Paula Dean…this is the woman who put HAMBURGERS on KRISPY KREME GLAZED DONUTS to serve and claimed they were the greatest things in the world.

    *full body shudder*

    I don’t count her as much of a ‘source’. hahaha

  5. Andrea Reply

    June 9, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I am sitting here in abject horror. Bananas and MUSTARD??????? I guess this cookbook is from the 70s, I am going to assume that whoever wrote it was possibly under the influence of some good drugs at the time?? LOL

  6. Sara in AZ Reply

    June 9, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Wait a minute, wait just a minute, wasn’t there a recipe about a year ago ‘Banana Salad’ something or other, where it was a stringy banana mess??? I remember that one was horrible too. I guess we all just need to eat bananas on their own, or in banana bread. Yeah, there is something really perverse about the way this thing looks – and the mustard – YUUUUUCK!!!!!!!

  7. RetroRuth Reply

    June 9, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Inky – Thank god there is no-smell-o-vision. It smelled kinda nasty!!

    Alex – That is hilarious!!! The New Mid-Century Menu, As Featured In Hustler. Now More Perverted Than Ever! 🙂

    Lori – I heard about that hamburger/Krispy Kreme debacle. Of course, Tom wants to try it ASAP.

    Uncle Atom – Sometimes I wonder if Tom has tastebuds. Or maybe his tastebuds and stomach are made of something stronger than the rest of us mere mortals.

    Andrea – I once saw a pothead kid in collage doing banana chasers after tequilla shots, so maybe there is wisdom in what you say.

    Sara – As always, girl, you are on top of it!! The tropical meat salad was practically the same disgusting thing. I don’t know why I keep trying these. 🙂

  8. sablemable Reply

    June 9, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Ruth, you almost turned me against ham-AND bananas, LOL!

    Those kitty-kids were just too cute!

    LOL, Alex @the cooking show/Hustler!!!!!!!

  9. Roxanne Reply

    June 9, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Oh my. Words fail me. I would NEVER have even put it into my mouth!!!

    OTOH, I didn’t see where you mentioned the flan verdict. FLAN IS FABULOUS!! I grew up eating it in Tampa and have perfected a recipe that is truly glorious.

    The ingredients are pretty similar to your recipe . . . SO, how was it?

    (A side question. Is there a way to subscribe to the comments on each post? I am computer challenged and haven’t been able to easily see a way to do this. Thanks!)

  10. Kirk Reply

    June 10, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Okay, it’s one thing to have a recipe that looks good but tastes bad; BUT I literally felt my gag reflex kick in when I looked at the picture of the finshed product. Thank the Lord I could see steam coming off the dish or I’d have lost it. Honestly it looks like there should have been hot dogs or some kind of sausage but the cook was out of them so they thought, “Hey, I have some banananas — same general shape, same general size — PERFECT!” How in the world did someone think of this?

  11. crash pad girl Reply

    June 10, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Yuck! what an unbelievable recipe, you too are soooooo brave.

  12. Emma Reply

    June 12, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Oh my goodness, I was gagging a little between my giggles while I read this. Goopy cooked bananas are awful! Thanks to you and Tom for going through that food misery for our amusement. 😉

  13. Meghann Reply

    June 14, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    LMBO! I laughed so hard I cried, literally. Then my husband came over wondering what it was all about, and said, “But that might taste good!”. Then I told him about the mustard and HE gagged! You are far braver than I will ever be. The most adventurous I’ve been is to try Umeboshi plums from the Japanese section in our health food store, LOL.
    ….Bananas, mustard and ham, bwa-HAHAHAHA!

  14. Pingback: Friday Find: Mid-Century Menu « Modern Retro Woman

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