The Overlooked Banana

At one point in my philosophically confused college career, I considered the banana a contender for proof of God’s existence. So handily packaged, so delicious, so good for your digestion! Surely if a thing like the banana existed, so must a beneficent God.

Things have become a little more complicated for me since then, but a recent post on the blog Ideas in Food has made me once again utter thanks for the yellow fruit. Written by chefs Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot, the post poetically invokes the banana’s essence:

Underneath their smooth thick skins, they are soft and almost fluffy against your tongue. As you sink your teeth into them, they yield gently to the pressure to reveal a smooth, almost creamy interior. Their scent is delicate and tropical. As you chew there is a clean sweet flavor like no other, with a slight hint of muskiness, the riper the banana, the stronger the hint, and that unique banana flavor that is reminiscent of vanilla without containing any actual vanilla flavors at all. It is the perfect foil for all manner of seasonings, pairing beautifully with chocolate or coconut, jalapenos or oranges, manzanilla sherry or rum. ... It can be dressed as sweet or savory with equal aplomb. It is often overlooked and almost always available.

According to the Washington Banana Museum (which is, sadly, only a virtual museum at the moment), Americans were introduced to bananas in Pennsylvania in 1876, at the centennial celebration of the Declaration of Independence. Sold for 10 cents each, the fruit came wrapped in tinfoil.

If you want to protect your banana in these modern days, no tinfoil is needed; instead, you can purchase a handy Banana Guard. Or, you know, you can make do with the banana’s natural packaging. Just don’t bother to smoke it.

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