Monday, October 20, 2014


bananas mashed

  When we were very young, our mother showed us how to eat a ripe banana. She carefully peeled the thick skin, yellow splotched with brown, and dropped it onto her empty dinner plate. She placed the banana lengthwise in the palm of her hand and wrapped her fingers around the fruit, clasping it in her fist. Seriously? We couldn't believe our eyes, knowing what was about to come yet doubting it, as it was so unlike our mother. But she calmly pushed on, pursued her little demonstration. As expected, she tightened her grasp on the fruit and closed her hand tighter and tighter, almost in slow motion, around that ripe banana until it squished into purée and oozed out from between her fingers. She then proceeded to eat the squished banana from off the backs of her fingers. Much to our astonishment and joy!

 She once also squished mashed potatoes through her teeth.

bananas plants

 We were pretty happy, well-behaved kids. Yes, we were. We didn't often get into mischief nor did we disobey. There was simply enough to keep us entertained and active without the caprice. And to tell you the truth, pranks weren't really our thing. But. We did find odd enjoyment in almost, not quite but almost, bringing our kid brother (the spoiled one) to tears. Or if not bringing him to tears, driving our mother crazy thinking that we would. Like dressing him up in our elder sister's dance costumes and telling him that, with his head full of curls, he looked like Shirley Temple. When he was a toddler and still eating his meals perched in the high chair, my brother and I set up the science kit that he had recently received for a birthday gift in the garage. And mixed together a concoction that looked like milk. We slipped into the kitchen as our mother slipped outside, phone tucked under her chin, to chat for a minute or two. We placed the glass on the tray in front of baby brother and urged him to drink. He, being totally oblivious, much to young to understand anything we were doing, picked up the glass and carried it to his lips. And as he was about to drink what we imagined was a deadly poison, we yanked the glass out of his hands and yelled "No! Don't drink it!" We felt oddly humored and pleased with ourselves.

 And another time in similar circumstances – kid brother in high chair, mom on the phone – we convinced him to wash his hair with ripe banana. And he did. The trouble we undoubtedly got into was well worth the laugh.


Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. - Groucho Marx

 I never really cared for the banana split. It could have been the strawberry ice cream which I never liked. But I think it was the bananas. Who would want to sully the pure pleasure of chocolate and vanilla ice cream (and whipped cream and chocolate sauce) with a banana. It makes no sense to me. 

 And I have a horror of those yellow candies shaped like bananas. What?

 I believe that I ate a chocolate-covered frozen banana at Disney World once. Eating a frozen banana is an impossible feat, even in the depth of a sweltering Florida August afternoon. The teeth do not sink easily into a frozen banana as they do ice cream or a popsicle, one must press into the icy rock as the pain shoots up and into one's roots, frozen teeth, brain freeze. And gnaw away, attempting to deflect the pain as one hacks through what seems to be a banana-flavored tree branch. Its saving grace is the thin coating of chocolate and really the only reason to make the effort.

bananas slices

 Why is slipping on a banana peel so funny? A universal funnyman joke.

"I 'm Chiquita banana and I've come to say - Bananas have to ripen in a certain way…" Although my father was the baker, my mother did make her famed Banana Cream Pie. Loads of vanilla pudding layered with perfect banana coins and the whole edged with crisp 'nilla wafer cookies. Topped with whipped cream. Classic. Heavenly. Diner fare.

 Carmen Miranda, her turban piled high with apples and oranges and always bananas. A tropical getup, an exotic dream, The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat. Josephine Baker and her flirty banana skirt. And not much more. Risqué.

you say havana and i say havana
you eat banana and i eat banana
havana, havana, banana, banana
let's call the whole thing off

bananas cake

 Some fruits come and go with the season, oranges and pears, peaches and grapes, but bananas can always be found in the fruit bowl on my kitchen counter year round. But once in a while, we just don't eat them fast enough and end up with two or three overripe bananas (although husband will eat a brown, ripe banana, sons and will not). That's when I whip up a banana bread or snack cake, chock full of mini chocolate chips and chopped pecans, or topped with slivered almonds. I think it must be my family's absolute favorite breakfast and snack cake. This recipe is so simple to make and so delicious, light and fluffy to eat.


1 ¼ cups (165 g) flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
10 Tbs (150 g) unsalted butter
Scant 2/3 (120 g) packed brown sugar, I used half light + half dark
1 large egg
¼ tsp vanilla
About 1 ½ cups mashed bananas (about 3 smallish)
½ - ¾ cups each chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate) and chopped pecans or walnuts

 Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and butter a 9-inch (22-cm) square pan.

 Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and set aside.

 Melt the butter over very low heat, removing from the heat before all of the butter is completely melted; allow the butter to finish melting off of the heat. Whisk the melted butter vigorously with the dark and light sugars until smooth and slightly thickened. Whisk in the egg and the vanilla well. Whisk in the mashed banana, the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Spread in the buttered pan.

 Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until set in the center and just barely beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool in the pan on a rack.

bananas piece of cake

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  1. Both my sons can't abide fresh bananas, but they love banana cake, banana bread, banana muffins and banana smoothies. I'm sure they'd love this delicious snack cake, especially with the extra enticement of choc chips.

  2. Oh Oh Oh!! How wonderful. Mum would NEVER have done that with a banana and even though I suspect she had to stifle laughter, she never let us push our mashed potatoes through our teeth.

    Jamie, you have a horror of those banana shaped candies because they're awful!

    I go through phases with bananas. Sometimes I loathe them; sometimes I love them. It's one or the other. Ilva, your photos have triggered the switch from loathing to loving. I especially love the coins photo.

    Thanks you too!!