Sunday, December 13, 2009

The banana

I’m reading a book by Dan Koeppel that is so fascinating, I cannot help but regularly interrupt my husband’s reading to share excerpts with him.

The book is about bananas, and you just have to read it.

A banana tree is not a tree, it’s an herb. The banana you eat today is not the banana your grandmother ate when she was little, because that banana was destroyed by blight and another type of banana was created to replace it.

Bananas are seedless. They are sexless. They cannot reproduce without humans. They all look the same because you are eating genetic twin (a clone) of a banana. Bananas are particularly susceptible to disease because what makes one banana sick wipes out all bananas, and the banana you know and love is at risk of ceasing to exist.

Americans eat more bananas than apples and oranges combined. And, bananas cost less, despite the fact they are grown in tropical countries and shipped across oceans and apples are grown within hours of most large cities in the United States. You have no idea the amount of things that have gone into making this possible. I have no idea why this question (how is this possible?) didn't occur to me before.

For bananas, jungles and rain forests have been cleared and governments have been toppled. They have transformed cultures. And, it’s very likely that the banana was the forbidden fruit Eve could not resist.

I will never again take for granted anything in my fruit bowl.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Dushka, great blog. Thanks for sharing.
And if and when you get around to figuring out the politics and history of pantyhose, sharp-tined mascara combs, and four-inch heels for women only, I'd really be interested in what you find out.
And bleach. I wonder about that, too...