Whenever I bump into a banana I find my protective mechanisms kick in. Yes, Mr. Banana is the cute, comical and helpless little brother I never had. ‘If other chefs make fun of you again’, I whisper into their yellow ears, ‘I will kick their snobbish asparagus blanching butts’. Bananas deserve more respect! Time for cartoonists to get their subjects to trip over something else but a banana peel, that joke is getting old. I’ve been fighting for banana rights ever since I was a 9 year old boy, in those days I used them in robberies, usually my grandma and her cookie jar as a victim, although I never quiet managed to intimate her with my banana gun.
Did I mention bananas rock? Botanists have classified them as berries and the plant they grow on is considered a herb. If that doesn’t make sense to you, how about this? All banana plants are radioactive! They contain considerable amounts of potassium-40, which is a radioactive isotope of potassium. Nothing to worry about but admit is does give them more ‘street credit’.
Bananas are for monkeys? Think again! Americans eat more bananas than apples and oranges combined! Us humans chump through 100 billion (that’s a lot of zeros) of them a year! And most of them get peeled the wrong way! Google it!
Ugandans are the biggest banana fans, 50 pounds per person per year my dear, no less! And stop eating unripe bananas! Just because it’s yellow doesn’t mean it’s ready! To experience the true complex flavor and sweetness, wait for some brown spots to appear on the skin.
Blessed are the Balinese who get to choose from a wide variety of ‘pisang’ (bananas) growing in every spare corner of their lush paradise island. From the small and sweet milk bananas to the glorious kings banana, there’s one to suit every day of the month. Unlike the average modern supermarket, where one can only buy identical clones of the infamous and commercial ‘Cavendish’ variety.
To finish off, here’s my dads favourite way with bananas. As kids he’d take us camping in the south of France, this is how we would finish off a charcoal BBQ evening.
Pappa John’s charcoal chocolate bananas:
6 large, ripe yet firm bananas
1 bar of delicious chocolate
Using a pairing knife, carve a ‘lid’ along the side of the banana. Open the ‘lid’, now push chunks of chocolate at 2 cm intervals into the flesh. Close the ‘lid’. Place the banana on the charcoal BBQ, which should be moderate temperature since this is the end of your cooking session. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until black and bubbly and all the chocolate has melted inside. Open the ‘lid’ and tuck in using a spoon!