Thursday, August 27, 2009

Banana, Banana

The banana can be a rather pedestrian fruit. When I am hungry and need something quick, it is the banana that I reach out for, but other times, the fruit simply fails to excite me.

In his essay titled, “The nutritive qualities of a banana”, Robert Lynd explained that the banana owed its popularity among us, not to any good qualities it possessed, but to bad qualities in ourselves.

“It is the lazy man’s fruit all the world over” he wrote. “We eat bananas not because we like them, but because they give us less trouble than any other fruit. One has to peel an apple or pear carefully, but the banana almost peels itself. In grapes, there are pips and skins to be got rid of, an endless inconvenience; but after the first stripping of the banana, there is no further labour.

The banana is free from nearly all the objections that can be taken to a fruit, except on the score of its taste. It is clean; it has neither pips nor core; it can be eaten if necessary without the aid of a knife; and not even a child has been known to eat it to excess. It may not have a single positive good quality, but it has all the negative good qualities. That is why it would be almost impossible to introduce it into a lyrical poem. The church bells may chime the praises of oranges and lemons, but not the bananas.”

In his blog, “Damn Interesting”, Matt Castle explains why the banana is a fortuitous fruit. “The banana is a freakish and fragile genetic mutant; one that has survived through the centuries due to the sustained application of selective breeding by diligent humans. Indeed, the “miraculous” banana is far from being a no-strings-attached gift from nature. Its cheerful appearance hides a fatal flaw— one that threatens its proud place in the grocery basket. The banana’s problem can be summed up in a single word: sex.”

“Stuck with the clunky, inefficient cloning of asexual reproduction, the sterile banana is at a serious disadvantage in the never-ending biological arms race between plant and pest. Indeed, it is a well-established fact that bananas are particularly prone to crop-consuming insects and diseases ”. A banana apocalypse is a distinct possibility.

So, let’s enjoy the humble banana as long as it lasts.


Balajisblog said...

Raj - For many years now a couple of bananas has been my breakfast. On many occassions, secure in the knowledge that a couple of bananas down the hatch can be dinner, I have mustered courage to pick up quarrels with my wife. So, a banana apocalypse possibility shocks me.

I also find that good quality "Rasthali" is hard to come by these days - almost all banana carts are filled with only "moris". So, looks like some good varieties have already taken the bow out of planet earth.....Balaji...

Raj said...

Balaji, I have some good news. Long before the banana apocalypse happens, the human population would have been wiped out by nuclear bomb, H1N1 virus, global warming, asteroids, etc. So, you may never run out of bananas in your entire life. Cheers.