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Where bananas flood my youthful memories

by John on April 22nd, 2014

Bananas. I love them, and I always have. My kids, also, love bananas. When I was a child, however, the dream of the perfect banana taunted me — brilliantly yellow without anything close to resembling a brown spot on the skin. I’d peel it and there would be no strands, whatsoever, because the perfect banana wouldn’t have such silliness. It would be sweet and not mushy. It must exist.

I’m grown now. I can tell you that “sweet” comes from “ripe,” and “ripe” doesn’t happen without the brown parts, or the yucky parts. If you see a perfectly yellow banana, it will only look yellow when it’s by itself, it’s unripe and will look green next to most anything resembling a ripe banana. Even if you manage to peel this “perfect banana,” you’ll end up with half of the peel sticking to the fruit, tons of those little annoying string things, and it will taste like starch.

But, when I was a kid, I blamed my parents — they just wouldn’t give me the perfect banana. They didn’t understand that, by the time a banana had a brown spot, it was, effectively, ruined. When I snuck a banana that wasn’t anywhere near ripe, and I had to deal with a starchy, unsweet, stick, my parents, obviously, bought the wrong kind of fruit.

Now, I’m an adult, or something. And I seldom eat bananas. Well, I should say that I seldom chose to eat bananas. With the kids, well, bananas find their way to me, whether I want them or not.

Because, you see, my children have the idea of the perfect banana.

“No – one without any yucky parts” I hear, oh so often, as I start to peel it.

“It’s yucky” I hear, when the banana is not yet ripe.

When there is a soft spot on the banana, itself, oh, the sky is falling. Sometimes, I might be able to scoop out the soft spot and, by some miracle of physics & unicorn piss, the banana will hold structural integrity, with a portion removed . . . in those cases, just maybe, my kids will eat the banana.

But should the banana break – be it from the removal of a soft spot or, you know, just because there is a good reason that bananas aren’t chosen as building material, that’s when we head to tantrum city. From this point, at a computer, far away from my children, tantrum city is a splendid place to travel. It’s silly — it’s where logic stands on its head. Of course, when visiting tantrum city, I might as well try to fart rainbows as try to be a reasonable parent.

It’s my fault that bananas break. And a broken banana, obviously, has my child ruined. Just as a starchy, unripe banana was, absolutely, my parents’ fault when I was the same age as my kids.

  1. It fascinates me that this is a natural occurring behavior and not a learned one.

  2. Laura permalink

    I also loved bananas as a child. But I was different, I liked the brown parts because they were sweeter. My mom was shocked that I would voluntarily eat a bruised banana. I still eat them almost every day. And yes, I’ll still eat the bruised part, I’ll eat them under ripe with the pretty skin and the starchy taste, and I’ll eat them when their perfectly ripe with some small brown spots on the skin. Plantains are pretty tasty too!

    • I love fried plantains . . . but my kids, well, they don’t get them just yet. So no plantains at the house.

      And now, yeah, I enjoy the sweet brown spots . . . but, well, when I was a kid, I was just like my two monsters little bundles of joy.

  3. My daughter makes me cut away the brown parts too. Or if the banana is too ripe (green), she’ll freak out.

    • I’m convinced there is a lot of money that could be made in delivering “perfectly ripe” bananas to parents in need.

  4. When the banana is still a little green at the place where the peel will segment? like a blush on the wrong side of the color wheel? When the flesh is firm and tart? A little, as you say, starchy?

    That is a perfect banana.

    • Your idea of a perfect banana is the key ingredient for my daughter’s tantrums.

  5. I like starchy bananas. And thus had a far happier childhood.

    • Obviously! I still don’t like starchy bananas, but the “overripe and yucky” bananas, now, are wonderful in banana bread, so I get far less upset when I see a banana has “waited too long”.

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