Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Killing In Bananas

I was able to find some red bananas at the supermarket about a week ago. Red bananas are small and very sweet. But of course, these were shipped unripe and so I put them out on the table for about four days and tried one. Nope. Two days later, well. . .  Today, okay, but not really there.

And it reminded me of when we lived in West Africa. We arrived in the rainy season, their winter. And it rained 24 hours a day, rain as hard as anything I’d ever seen. Some of the expats went around the bend during the rainy season. We were all joyful when it ended. And shortly after that, I got my first lesson in what a ripe banana was. A ripe banana, our houseman explained, was not that hard yellow thing we somehow (it was beyond him how we could) peeled and bit into. That was like eating a piece of wood. A ripe banana was brown and soft, and you cut the top off it and squeezed it out into your mouth one delectable, sugary glob at a time. I tried it. I was unable to change my habits, though I will admit to letting bananas get quite a bit softer and sweeter since then.

And in due course, I decided that buying bananas a bunch at a time at the market was not as efficient as buying a whole stalk. So I asked our houseman what a whole stalk would cost. What he told me was that I could obtain one for about the price of four or five bunches. What a deal! How could I refuse? A few days later, he and I traipsed over to the house of a friend of his and the man cut a huge stalk of bananas from a tree for us. It was almost all we could do to lug the thing into the passenger seat of my Volkswagen and get it home. I gave my houseman a very large bunch and we put the stalk (it was big stalk, almost as tall as I was) into the pantry inside the house. For about two weeks, I reveled in making a killing in bananas. In a few days, we took some and made Pina Coladas.  Then a few more and we made banana pudding, and bananas Foster. But then, they all began to ripen at the same time. Did I say it was a very big stalk? We made banana bread, which my houseman loved (he took quite a few loaves of banana bread home with him). Finally, we gave away as many bananas as we could to whomever would take them. And I learned a lesson about getting too much of a good thing.

But tomorrow, those red bananas on the table should be delicious.

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