Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lust For Bananas

Bite Me!

There are few rites of passage in these lives of ours more telling or portentous than the one known commonly as the Lust for Bananas. It is a rite that comes to all men and women, genetically engineered as Nature's way of telling us that if we haven’t yet done Europe on a motorcycle, it’s a bit late to go out looking at Harleys. 

Lust for Bananas is marked by the sudden urge to consume a fruit that throughout most of our lives has served as little more than set decoration.

One minute, that cluster of bananas sitting in a basket on the kitchen counter might just as well be made of wax.  The next moment you find yourself pouncing upon the multi-pronged curved grouping of cylindrical fruit as if it were a circle of tantalizing chorus girls all singing...

Has anybody under age 50 ever gotten worked up over the simple banana?   It’s not juicy like an orange or a grapefruit. It’s not sweet like a plum or a peach.   And it's certainly not flamboyant like a pineapple or a watermelon.

Peel off the protective coating, and what you’ve got is a chalky looking conical stalk with the consistency of paper toweling   Bite in and you experience a taste that's so understated you probably can't figure out how to describe it to me right now, even if you've already had a couple of them today.

Even its color is insipid.  Not Green as in Go!  Not Red as in Stop!

Yellow as in Hang Around and Kinda Wait...

About the only enjoyment most of us short of a certain age receive from a banana is the delight the male of the species derives from watching an attractive woman devour one, and even then the banana serves merely as a stand-in, never the true star.

But somehow as the years roll on, Nature has a change planned for us all.

Perhaps it begins the first time you hear those eight simple words from the lips of your doctor, health care professional, or annoyingly fitness conscious friend which will come to change your life, those eight simple words being:

 “Did you know bananas are rich in potassium?”  

Frankly, I had never realized potassium was something anyone needed unless he or she was setting up a gunpowder factory. But apparently as we age we need potassium every bit as much as we need friends who will lie to us about how we look. Thus those eight words of medical wisdom lodge deep within our consciousness, settling finally in the  lobes of the brain that control the long dormant areas of the tongue that sit up and do push-ups at the thought of the humble banana! 

It was to me one day not long after the potassium comments began regularly arcing my way that I realized the prosaic banana I had absent-mindedly carved up into my cereal was overriding the Cocoa Krispies themselves.  Might it be possible to eat one of these dullards of the fruit family, I pondered, without the cereal itself?

I ate one.

And Lust for Bananas became my life!

It’s hardly ambrosia for the gods. In fact, it still has a taste that’s so understated I can’t figure out how to describe it to you right now.  Even though I’ve already had five today.

The banana’s wonder, I think, actually lies in its very blandness.  A banana is the ultimate multi-purpose food, right for every occasion.  At least for we oldsters. 

Steak and potatoes seem a bit too heavy?  Have a nice banana! 

Ice cream too cold and sweet?   A banana’s just right!

Vodka?  Well, even the banana has its limitations.

Nowadays I always keep a major supply of bananas on hand, shopping for bananas even when I have nothing else to shop for.  My kitchen now resembles a cross between the headdress of 1940’s singer Carmen Miranda (pictured above) and an inventory of spare parts for a universal male fantasy modeled heavily on extrapolation.

Want to know how intense it all gets?  Sometimes when only a banana bunch of deep greenish hue is available to me, I find myself desperately hoping that time lapse photography become reality.  If all I've got are bananas with dark brownish spots, I pray time lapse photography not only exist, but run effectively in reverse!

It’s simple Lust for Bananas.  You’ll see.

Hey, why don’t you stop over?

We’ll open up a couple bananas, put on some Harry Belafonte, and talk 'bout looking for Harleys.  


Even I'm not old enough to see bananas this way yet.

(And for some actual factual about bananas, please check out the words of Real Food for Life experts Randy Fritz and Diana Herrington, at


Junying Kirk said...

I love bananas, Perry, for different reasons from you, of course :)

Very interesting post and I hope more people heed your advice and share your lust for bananas - they are definitely good for you, no matter what age and even if you can't describe what they taste like :) I just hope that supermarkets in the UK will forsake those shining good looking ones and start importing those less perfect in appearance but sweeter in taste :)

Perry Block said...

Thanks, Junying.

It really is true that bananas somehow become more interesting the older you get. I remember my grandfather talking about eating a banana a day to "get his potassium" years ago. Maybe we oldsters are just craving the potassium.

If you love bananas already, by the time you're my age you'll be buying out the store. And never wanting for potassium ...

Sweeter in taste? Nah, they're not sweet!