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7 Reasons That Bananas Are Amazing

Posted on June 17, 2010 in Posts | 0 comments

A photo of many yellow Cavendish bananas (banana)

1.  Nutrition. Bananas are very good for you.  They’ve got sucrose, glucose, fructose and things that don’t end in ose.  There’s fibre, potassium and iron.  They have five times more vitamin A content than an apple, they also contain lots of B and C vitamins, and probably some from further along the alphabet too.  And, if you live (approximately) a 22.5 minute run from your nearest banana shop you can get all of the energy you need for a run to, and back from, the shop by eating a single banana before you go*.

2.  The banana is like the sandwich. That may strike you as odd, but it’s true.  There are many varieties of banana, but the one we all know and love; the one that we commonly call the banana is, in fact, called the Cavendish banana.  It’s named after William Cavendish, the sixth Duke of Devonshire and the sandwich, as we all know, is named after John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich.  Hence, the banana is like the sandwich.    These men didn’t invent or cultivate them, they were merely notable early consumers of their eponymous products.  Perhaps, using this system, Twitter will eventually be called Stephen Fry and the iPad will be known as the Git. Who can tell?

3.  Flavour. Bananas taste of bananas, which is great.  I like bananas, and if they tasted of tomato or houmous they’d be quite disappointing.  But as it is, bananas taste like a sort of a wholesome, less rich, version of banana milkshake.  Or a less cakey version of banana cake.  Or a more banana-y version of not eating a banana.  Look, just eat a banana and figure it out for yourself.  They’re jolly nice.

4.  Ripeness. When bananas aren’t ready to be eaten, they are green.  When they are ready to be eaten, they are yellow.  Simple.  And when they’ve gone off and they shouldn’t be eaten, they’re brown.  There aren’t many foods that so obviously and vividly communicate their own state of edibility.  I want to describe the bananas inbuilt colour-coding system as awesome but it’s better than that.  It hasn’t just provoked some awe in me, it’s provoked much awe.  The colour-coding system of the banana is awemuch.  It’s so amazing that I’ve invented a word.

5.  Portability. Bananas are supremely portable.  They require no implement to eat them, no special container to store them in (they already come wrapped in one) and they don’t need to be cooked.  When at home, this is my daily breakfast:  A banana, a glass of sparkling water and an espresso.  That’s three things to carry away from the kitchen.  But I only have two hands.  Fortunately though, the banana’s innate portability means that it fits perfectly into my trouser pocket.   Thus, I avoid making a second journey to-and-from the kitchen.  Sadly, this practice is also the source of many a ribald remark, such as:

Wife: Is that a banana in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

Me:  It’s a banana in my pocket.


Houseguest: Is that a banana in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

Me: It’s a banana in my pocket.


Houseguest 2: Is that a banana in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

Me: It’s a banana in my pocket.

Laugh?  We nearly…no no, we didn’t.  Anyway, the banana can travel anywhere, occasionally without provoking poor innuendo.

6.  Prop.  You can use it to do all sorts of things.  You can make a smile with it – not one an American would like as bananas are yellow, but a smile nonetheless – and you can make an unsmile (what the hell is the opposite of a smile called?).

A smiling banana on a plate and an unsmiling banana on a plate

You can use it as a pretend gun, which is especially useful if people keep enquiring if that’s “…a banana in your pocket…?”  You can also pretend it’s a telephone, but then you have to talk into a banana, which makes you look a little bit mad.  And you won’t hear anyone talking back.  Hopefully.

7.  Novelty. Bananas are exotic.  Well, unless you’re reading this in Latin America, Africa or Southeast Asia, in which case they probably seem quite humdrum.  But in the UK we import all of our bananas.  This means that during the Second World War there weren’t any to be had at all; my own father didn’t see his first banana until he was seven years old.  Bananas seemed so novel and exotic back then, that during towards the end of WWII people actually advertised their banana flavoured barley pudding mixture(!) by drawing attention to their lack of bananas.  Think on that, the next time you’re eating a banana.

An advert in the Sunday Pictorial newspaper from March 11th, 1945 for Lingfords banana flavoured barley pudding mixture


*Never eat a married banana.

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