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From store to kitchen to table: CHOW’s The Basics outline the steps that get you from raw ingredients to dinner, without complicated techniques, methods you’ll remember and deploy at will—the most basic way to make the thing you want to make.


  • • a large frying pan
  • • two forks or a spatula
  • • a long match or a grill lighter (if you’re using an electric stove)
  • • four ripe but still firm bananas
  • • half a stick of butter
  • • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • • two pinches of ground cinnamon
  • • a pinch of salt
  • • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • • vanilla ice cream (optional)

Get started!

1. Place the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in the frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir until the mixture is bubbly, caramel-y, and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

2. Carefully lay the sliced bananas cut side down in the caramel mixture so they’re not touching one another. Cook until the bottom sides are coated with caramel, about one minute. (Don’t overcook or the bananas will get mushy.)

3. Using the forks or a spatula, carefully turn the bananas over without breaking them. Remove the pan from heat (but keep the burner on if you’re using a gas stove).

4. Pour the rum into the pan and let it warm up for a couple of seconds. Note: You are about to light the rum on fire, so use caution! If you have a gas stove, place the pan back on the burner and slightly tip it so the alcohol fumes ignite. (Don’t actually touch the alcohol to the flame.) If you have an electric stove and you’re using a match or grill lighter, just touch the flame to the area around the booze and it will ignite. Turn off the gas burner, if applicable. Wait until the flame burns off before serving, about one to two minutes.

5. Arrange the bananas on a serving dish, pour sauce over them, and serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.


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