Bananas, bananas, bananas…

You lie!

You lie!

Yeah, that headline is a reference to a Woody Allen movie. (I’d link to a gif of the actual line, but I can’t find it. Here’s a poster.) It seemed to fit, although I can’t swear it’s appropriate. I haven’t made up my mind yet on the whole, If the person is scandalous, must the person’s works be avoided like the plague thing. Maybe they must. I don’t know. Maybe we can have a side debate about that.

But here’s the point of the post: I took the above and below images in the produce department at Walmart a couple of months back, and just ran across them again.

They lie.

None of the bananas in the images are anywhere near “ready to eat now.” Look at the ones they say that about. See all that green near the stem. You can’t even peel them without either using a knife or unnecessarily crushing the fruit beneath. They’re just not ready.

They will continue to contain a certain chemical (I don’t know what that chemical is, but it tastes wretched) that makes them taste “green” and makes them hard to digest for several days, maybe even a week. Wait not only until they are no longer green, but until you get some small black flecks on the yellow. Then, they will be fine — still fresh and firm, and sweet, and without that chemical taste that is every bit as offensive as, I don’t know, artificial sweetener.

I’ve known this for most of my life — certainly ever since I lived in Ecuador as a kid, and pushcarts came around my neighborhood selling a wide variety of bananas — verdes, marduros, guineos, and such. Actually, I may be remembering or spelling some of those wrong. It’s been a long time. More than 50 years later, things get fuzzy. So it was kind of a relief to visit Thailand several years ago, and see fresh fruit regularly brought to the table, and never, ever was there a banana with a hint of green on it. Because in the tropics, people know bananas.

But a lot of people don’t know these things, I find. And weirdly, some people — some even in my own family — actually like those green things. I can’t explain it.

Here’s a theory, though: You know how some people inherit a trait that makes them hate the taste of cilantro, while the rest of us find it completely unobjectionable?

Maybe it’s like that. Maybe the people who don’t want to retch at the taste, the unnatural smell of green bananas are just genetically different. Maybe they don’t taste that horrible chemical, whatever it is. So they don’t back away in revulsion from a banana that makes a crisp “snap” sound when you slice it (as though it were celery or something), the way the rest of us do. They are clearly wrong, but perhaps it isn’t their fault.

What do you think? Does my explanation work? (By the way, I tried Googling this, but didn’t find an adequate explanation.)

banana 2


17 thoughts on “Bananas, bananas, bananas…

  1. bud

    About the “if the person is scandalous” statement. Seems as though all the Bill Cosby shows have been banned from syndicated TV. I guess it’s just too hard to separate foul deeds from wholesome TV shows. Sad.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, it IS sad. Cosby did a lot of good work that had nothing to do with his offenses.

      With Woody Allen, it’s complicated by the fact that much of his humor is about sexual obsession. And of course “Manhattan” is about a sexual relationship with a girl young enough to be his daughter. That makes it harder to separate.

      On the other hand, while it’s easier to separate Cosby’s work from his sins, the evil he did was SO aggressive and involved so many women. So it’s kind of hard to just set that aside, too.

      Then you have situations like Harvey Weinstein. Since he’s not the actual artist, it’s easier to separate him from such works as the film “Good Will Hunting.”

      Michael Jackson is different. Every time I hear a one of his songs come on the radio, I think, “Why are they playing that?” Of course, I’ve never been a fan of his, so that’s a factor.

      Whereas I loved “Bananas” and “Love and Death,” so Woody Allen is more of a conflict for me. But man, if he did what he’s accused of doing…

  2. Bill

    Banana’s used to be GREAT(Tony the Tiger)!
    If you bought bananas in the first half of the 20th Century, it’s highly likely you were buying the fatter, more flavorful cousin of our modern banana, the Gros Michel—a cultivar that was top banana in its day and comprised the vast majority of banana exports…

  3. Bill

    This candy-flavored banana is out of this world in sweetness.
    This variety used to be grown commercially but now is extremely rare and difficult to find. We grow Gros Michel extremely small scale here in Florida using permaculture methods which means that they may not be super large and thick like what you may be used to if you remember eating this variety back when it was available in stores.

  4. Norm Ivey

    I don’t go out of my way to avoid artists with criminal or unsavory behavior in their resumes, but neither do I seek out their work. The net result is that I don’t see much of their stuff, and I don’t miss it.

    Yusuf is a good example. I don’t own any of his music, and he’s not in any of my playlists, but I don’t skip Oh Very Young when it comes on a shuffle, either.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I had to look up “Yusuf.”

      I see you are apparently referring to Cat Stevens.

      I NEVER listened to Cat Stevens. I always avoided his music. I’m not sure whether Pandora or Spotify has ever recommended his stuff to me, but if they did, I immediately changed to the next song.

      I don’t know how to explain what I didn’t like about his music. Just seemed sort of insipid to me, and I always avoided it. I mean, I like the hymn “Morning Has Broken;” I just don’t particularly want to hear his version.

      Consequently, I was only vaguely aware that he had changed his name. I remember that it happened, but I couldn’t have told you what the new name was…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        See, now I’m feeling bad for saying all those negative things about Cat Stevens. The guy seems kind of harmless, and he’s never done anything to me.

        I just always wanted to change the station when his stuff came on.

        There’s someone else like that from about that same time that I similarly avoided, but I can’t think of the person, or group’s, name. I’m thinking it was a duo…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          To mention someone I DO like, lately I’ve been listening a good bit to Diana Krall.

          I can thank Pandora for that. She came up on my Astrud Gilberto station, and I liked her, and got really interested when I learned she was married to Elvis Costello, so I listened some MORE…

          First time in a while that I’ve gotten into someone new — by “new,” I mean someone who may have been around for quite a while, but I just discovered…

          1. Norm Ivey

            I just gave Diana Krall a listen. Standards! I enjoy those songs at times. Linda Ronstadt did a few albums with Nelson Riddle that I listen to occasionally.

        2. Norm Ivey

          Perhaps the duo you’re thinking of is Seals and Crofts? I can tolerate Summer Breeze, but that’s it. I had the words wrong for years. I thought the breeze was blowing through the chasm in my mind. Turns our it was jasmine. They had a minor hit with a track called First Love, which I have nostalgia for because it came out shortly after a breakup.

          Just listened to it again. It’s awful.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Yes! Seals and Crofts!

            Oh, no! Now I’ve got “Summer Breeze” blowing through my mind! How do I describe it except to say it’s sort of ultimate ’70s — in a bad way…

            Surely it will stop within a few minutes…

      2. Norm Ivey

        I liked him back in the day. I think it was his voice more than anything else. I found out recently he wrote The First Cut is the Deepest, which I love.

        He supported the execution of Salman Rushdie after the publication of The Satanic Verses way back in the last century sometime.

        Like I said, I don’t avoid his stuff, but neither do I do anything to actively put money in his pockets.

  5. Jim Catoe

    If you are into busking I would highly recommend a young lady by the name of Allie Sherlock who performs on Grafton St. in Dublin. She does mostly covers, but her voice is divine.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I like a good cover. Awhile back, I made myself a CD of nothing but covers. Good stuff.

      And as I’m sure all you fans out there know, my band is a cover band — or it will be, when I actually get the whole band thing up and running.

      Sometimes, I like groups better when they’re doing covers.

      For instance — and I always feel bad saying this, because they’re local and reflect well on the community, etc. — but I’ve never been what you’d call a fan of Hootie and the Blowfish. Their original stuff that they’re known for nationally just doesn’t appeal to me all that much.

      But once, years ago, I heard them on the radio doing a cover of “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” and thought Wow, they’re really good!

      And I don’t really even like that song all that much…

  6. Pete Stone

    Two banana items may be worth some searching if of interest:

    The Great Banana Explosion in Columbia many decades ago. If I recall correctly it was an explosion of ethylene gas used to ripen bananas in a warehouse.

    The loss of cherished tasty favored banana varieties imported by European nations from their former colonies in the Caribbean region, as a result of the US using its influence in some trade organization to the benefit of huge US-HQ’d banana corporations in Central America. The island banana farming was bankrupted. The US made no friends there.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *