Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Say It Ain't So!

Many years ago, my sweetie and I spent a number of months living in Mexico. This was my first trip outside the US and it was full of exciting discoveries. One of the biggest thrills for me was all the delicious fresh produce. I enjoyed trying exotic new fruits like mangoes (which I still adore), papayas (not so much), and deliciously sweet fresh pineapple. But what I never expected to delight me as it did was the taste of Mexican bananas which were fresher, sweeter, and more flavorful than anything I'd eaten at home. I was a banana fiend in Mexico. I ate piles of them fresh and made a top nearly every morning to have some blended with fresh pineapple at the licuado stand in the central plaza of Cuernavaca. I still remember the first banana I ate after returning home, in a Safeway in California. It was woody, dry, and tasteless and I was, quite frankly, bereft.

I am still a voracious eater of bananas. I buy quite a few pounds each week, organic whenever possible. I know, I know -- the localvores would string me up for my love of this high-traveling exotic. So sue me. I love my bananas. They even have numerous health benefits.

All of this preface is to set the scene for the deep funk in which I find myself this afternoon after listening to the latest episode of Good Food. After the regular market report, host Evan Kleinman spoke with Dan Koeppel, the author of the recently published Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World. According to banana experts around the world, my beloved fruit is on its way to extinction due to the combination of a devastating fungus and a lack of genetic diversity. Needless to say, I'm finding news of the pending banana apocalypse very upsetting, but for those people whose diets are heavily banana-dependent this could be a real tragedy.

I'm waiting to get my library's copy of the book, but found Koeppel's Popular Science article to be fascinating reading in the mean time. And I think I might just run out and stock up on my favorite fruit while I try to wrap my head around the idea of a world without bananas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My sister grows 'apple bananas' in her yard on Oahu and they are the most delicious bananas I've ever eaten. They have an incredible texture and a flavor that borders on floral (in an exquisite way). I'm wondering if they are a close match to those you ate in Mexico? Thanks for the link on Koeppel's article! Catherine