Ham-Banana Casserole

Posted on Jun 9 2010 - 10:58am 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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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit in...to the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (www.midcenturymenu.com), No Pattern Required (www.nopatternrequired.com), and I Ate The 80's (www.iatethe80s.com).

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27 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Inky June 9, 2010 at 11:38 am - Reply

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

  2. Alex June 9, 2010 at 11:43 am - Reply

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

  3. Uncle Atom June 9, 2010 at 11:51 am - Reply

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

  4. Lorie B. June 9, 2010 at 11:53 am - Reply

    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 June 9, 2010 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    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 June 9, 2010 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    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 June 9, 2010 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    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 June 9, 2010 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    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 June 9, 2010 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    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 June 10, 2010 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    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 June 10, 2010 at 4:05 pm - Reply

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

  12. Emma June 12, 2010 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    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 June 14, 2010 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    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. Debra March 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    Once again you amaze me! Your husband is a true adventurer 🙂 Please give him Kudos from me for trying the yucktastic dish! 🙂

    • RetroRuth March 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Debra!

  15. Jean-Marie May 20, 2012 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Lol, I googled ham and banana casserole because I has just posted it on my new blog! I am so glad that I found your blog and just spent an hour reading it!!! God bless your husband and his stomach..,,I can’t believe he tried it!! Here is the original Chiquita banana ad from the Devember 1947 issue of Woman’s Day with the recipe if you are interested! http://retroramamama.blogspot.com/2012/05/oh-chiquita-i-am-speechless.html

  16. Exiene December 7, 2013 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    THIS is the recipe that almost made me vomit on my laptop…seriously, if I were you’re husband, I’d leave you for making this for me. 🙂

  17. johnny December 22, 2014 at 6:57 am - Reply

    OMG! I was an exchange student in Germany in the summer of 1977 and my host mother made this. She didn’t make a cheese sauce with it though. It was horrible. I pretended I liked it just to keep from hurting her feelings.

  18. Bari September 14, 2016 at 3:47 am - Reply

    Wowee, it’s been years since I actually began to cry because I was laughing so hard, but Ham-Banana Casserole did the trick. Something about the buttering of the ends of the bananas–oh my fuck. Of all the terrible recipes on this site, this is by far the most hilarious to me.

  19. Barbara January 1, 2017 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Oh this is so funny. I was a college student in the late 60s. My roommate actually made this casserole. With SPAM. I think she may have also tweaked it with cream of mushroom soup in lieu of white sauce. I had to share. I will never forget the mustard, spam and banana combo.

  20. Anaïs August 5, 2017 at 7:32 am - Reply


    I’ve seen this American recepy pass me by countless time now. I’m from Antwerp (Belgium) and I just have to say something about this atrocity…

    Here in Belgium we actually have a dish that looks quite similar on the outside but tastes like heaven…

    It’s a running joke here: ‘An American cook from the fifties needed another recepy to complete his cookbook and he just opted for writing a bogus recepy based on the dish he had seen Belgians eating because he was running out of time. Needless to say he remembered some things wrong. So the chicory became bananas and some weird things were added to the cheese-cream sauce. Voila the ham-banana casserole was born.’ This is probably a false tale our grandmothers told us because of their disdain for this American dish, but this is how we still laugh about it.

    If you want to try the Belgian version with chicory, ham and a delicious cheese-cream sauce you can try this recepy: http://www.visitflanders.com/en/themes/flemish-food/flemish-dishes-and-specialities/flemish-dishes/endives/

    Best of luck!

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