Who in the world would want a mock banana? It might be hard for modern readers to understand needing a substitute for something that can typically be bought for 19 cents a pound at Trader Joe’s. But during World War II in Great Britain, many goods were tightly rationed, and a huge percentage of imported products suddenly became unavailable. The banana was one much-loved fruit that few in U.K. could manage to get their hands on.
With a stiff upper lip and a desire to create something with a similar taste and texture, enterprising Brits brought the mock banana into being.
It was a simple recipe: Young, sweet parsnips were peeled, diced, and boiled before being mashed together with caster sugar and a few drops of banana essence. How de-lish! The result was a mash tasting vaguely of parsnips and bananas, an odd but not completely unpleasant paste often enjoyed in sandwiches as demonstrated in this YouTube video.
As far as vintage recipes go, this is definitely not the worst. But while the mock banana seems like a reasonable response in light of the circumstances, there are many other retro recipes you won’t believe people actually made.