"Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life." Barbara Kingsolver, High Tide in Tucson
I don't know how many of you buy a bunch of bananas with the best of intentions, and then watch as the cheerful yellow skin spots, turns leopard print, and, then finally, completely brown, but I do.
I have had a long and storied past with bananas.
They are my former nemises, my now reluctant friends. There's something about the texture of a banana, especially if overly ripe and mushy, that disgusts me, sets off my gag reflex in an uncomplimentary way. But smoothies and banana bread were two of the converting factors that helped me let go of my hate for all textures banana in my early 20s. I love that my tastebuds change. That I discover new foods that I once relegated to the "do not like" list. Like most writers and people, I am a fan of progression.
To be honest, though, I am not a picky eater. There are only a few things I do not, will not, eat: creamy coleslaw (horrible childhood memories of being forced by a babysitter to eat the unctuous shreds), Sun-Maid raisins, and water chestnuts. Otherwise, bring on the blood sausage made from fresh sheep's blood, potatoes and spices that I ate on a Navajo reservation in Arizona during my friend Christie's Beauty Way Ceremony, let me enjoy the down-home cooking of freshly fried frog legs or crappie (my dad's family), or parsnips cooked with bacon and olive oil (my mom's invention).
But bananas, I feel meh about (shoulders shrugging upwards and down again).
So, if I give you a recipe that involves bananas, just note that said recipe has to be something special, something I will actually eat. As usual I go to my patron saint of the oven, Ina Garten, whose 1999 book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, is one that always makes me wish I had a hint of east coast blue blood in me so I could summer on Martha's Vineyard, wear boat shoes, and bike around the island.
Maybe someday I'll find myself on the island, wearing gemstone flip flops, sipping Small's gin and tonic (The best gin I've ever drank. Period.), and bumping into Ina and telling her how much I love her use of butter and sugar. Until then, I'm going to take the brown bananas life has given me and make banana crunch muffins.
Warmth and wellness,