Happy Anniversary, Banana

It’s been one year since we met again, and this time I finally fell in love. Yes, I’m talking to you, bananas.

Ever since I can remember, I desperately tried to like bananas. Once or twice a year, I would open one up and take a bite in hopes that I would finally accept it. Now it’s important to note that for me texture is incredibly important in liking a food. As much as I wanted to enjoy the banana, I found the combination of the internal sliminess and exterior of the edible portion’s dry-and-near-fuzziness repulsive (and if you viewed bananas in those terms, you would likely agree). I’d try banana chunks on cereal, a whole fruit straight up, chocolate-covered bananas or a piece blended in a smoothie. (Ok, so texture was not an issue in the smoothie as much as the overwhelming flavor – I could taste even 1/10th of a banana in my icy treat.) But no matter what I tried, it was the same story: Bananas are yucky.

About a year ago, Mike was buying bananas at the supermarket weekly and never finishing the bunch. After the third time a banana wound up in the garbage, I knew I had to take action. It was high time for another Banana Trial, and this time I needed to be strategic with a different plan of attack. Plain bananas just wouldn’t work. What could I pair it with that has an equally strong flavor that would be complementary to the sweet produce?

Ah, yes. Peanut butter! Slathered on a dense bakery bread with some thinly sliced banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon, toasted with some butter on a hot skillet… oh my. I finally did it. I found a banana style I actually enjoyed.

I remember the day clearly, because after my tasty breakfast, I made another sandwich to bring with me to the 2010 Chocolate Show here in NYC. I ended up smothering my lunch with melted chocolate borrowed from my volunteer station.  Heaven.

For our one year celebration, dear Banana, I decided to do it up a new way. We have Peanut Butter & Co. Mighty Maple PB picked up yesterday from the 2011 Chocolate Show, along with our thinly sliced banana on cinnamon raisin bread. I heated my new sammy up with a pat of salted whipped butter on a pan and then sliced it in half.

A sandwich with crisp, savory outside and a creamy, sweet center. The maple adds a rich sweetness unlike my 100% peanut natural peanut butter, and the cinnamon raisin adds even more flavors to the mix in a very simple way. On a day when leaves are blowing off the trees, it feels perfect.

It’s not exactly low-calorie, but it’s a full meal: 390 calories and 10g of protein for the sandwich, and only 70 calories for all the berries. If you’re counting calories, you might want to share the sandwich with a friend as a tasty snack.

Our story began with a sandwich, but out of sheer necessity I eventually needed to branch out into other banana ventures. When Mike and I signed up for a CSA last year, we were inundated with a variety of fruits and veggies each week. While there were many lessons learned from jumping into community supported agriculture, one of them was that an organic foods winter-share CSA will include plenty of bananas and plantains in your weekly haul. With Mike’s track record, too many would have wound up in the garbage bin if I hadn’t learned to swoop in and use ’em up on their way out.

Good thing we became friends, Banana.

2 Comments to “Happy Anniversary, Banana”

  1. I’ve never tried plantains, but LOVE bananas… I actually know quite a few people that have an aversion to them – I kinda get it, it is quite a weird texture/taste, but I can’t get enough of them. Such a good baking tool 🙂
    That sandwich is definitely something I would chow down on 🙂

  2. You should definitely give plantains a try! They come in a starchy version when green or yellow on the outside, and they become sweeter as the skin turns black. Regardless of the color they need to be cooked, unlike bananas. If you know of a Cuban restaurant, look for “maduros” on the menu under the side dishes. Maduros are sauteed sweet plantains — the cooking process gives them a caramelized crunch on the outside. Super good.

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