Zentraveler goes Bananas over Bananas!

I was recently talking to a friend on Bantayan Island, Philippines and she served up some killer fried bananas. In fact she had an entire stem of fat yellow ones and boiled the rest for our work crew. She went on to say the reason monkeys don’t have heart attacks is because they eat this very type of fat yellow banana.

Just when you thought you knew something about bananas you would be be out of luck at the local market in Bantayan. They have fat red ones, fat yellow ones, fat green ones… and oh yea most of the regular looking bananas that are green are the best tasteing. They also have small yellow ones, large yellow ones… and all kinds of sizes and shapes in between.

I became intrigued over the Banana when I learned one of the top ten restaurants in the world (located in China) only serves Banana. They serve the stem thinly sliced from young banana trees, they serve the heart of the stems cut into plugs that make a wonderful desert, and they make all sorts of flambeaus and salads to get you through the elaborate banana menu!

Then their is something about the sound of bananas. “Yes! We have no Bananas!”, a broadway song sung by Groucho Marx, slipping on banana peels in the supermarket and what a lovely bunch of bananas… and you can’t play second banana to me!

“Here are 25 facts about one of the world’s most popular fruits: The Banana!

The banana “tree” is not really a tree, but a giant herb. The banana is the fruit of this herb.

The cluster of bananas sold in supermarkets is a “hand” of bananas, while the individual bananas on the hand are called fingers.

The strings that go up and down the length of bananas are called Phloem Bundles. They help distribute nutrients to every part of the growing bananas.

The yellow bananas that are most often sold in supermarkets are sometimes called “dessert bananas” because they are soft and sweet.

Plantains are a type of banana that are not as sweet and are usually cooked. While not as commonly eaten in North America, plantains are a dietary staple in many tropical regions.

It is believed by many experts that bananas were the first fruit cultivated by humans.

Alexander the Great first came across bananas in India in 327 B.C.

Bananas were introduced to the United States at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Celebration, where they were sold wrapped in foil for 10 cents each.

Worldwide, bananas are the fourth largest fruit crop.

The average American consumes 28 pounds of bananas per year.

The banana peel is edible, though perhaps not very palatable unless cooked.

About 50 percent of people who are allergic to latex are often also allergic to bananas.

India is the #1 banana producer in the world.

The most popular banana cultivar in the world is the Cavendish. This is the banana most often seen in U.S. and European markets.

Before Cavendish, Gros Michel was the main banana cultivar exported on a mass, commercial scale. In the mid-20th century, Gros Michel was ravaged by Panama disease and is no longer sold commercially.

Panama disease, or Fusarium wilt, is a fungus that attacks banana plants. It was reported in Australia in the 19th century.

It is believed that the Cavendish, like the Gros Michel, will be devastated by Panama disease within 20 years and will no longer be able to be produced commercially. This would be a difficult blow to the banana industry.

Scientists are trying to develop a hybrid, disease-resistant banana.

Chiquita was initially called the United Fruit Company. In the 20th century, they played a controversial role in the politics of Central America, where they had vast holdings. The company earned the nickname of “The Octopus” in the region because they had their hands in so many political pots.

The CIA-sponsored 1954 coup that overthrew the democratically-elected Guatemalan government headed by Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán is believed to be a direct result of influence by the United Fruit Company, which had an antagonistic relationship with the Arbenz government.

In Uganda, bananas are such a big part of the diet that the same word, matooke, is used for both “food” and “banana.”

The pejorative term “banana republic” was coined by American writer O. Henry. He used it in reference to Honduras, but the term became widely used in reference to any Latin American, Caribbean, or African country that was politically unstable, relied heavily on basic agriculture, and was not technologically advanced.

The banana split was invented in 1904 by 23-year-old David Evans Strickler, an employee at the Tassel Pharmacy soda fountain in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

The song “Yes, We Have No Bananas” was released in 1923 and became a huge hit. It refers to the banana shortage at the time.

In 2001, Britain recorded 300 incidents of injuries related to bananas. The majority of these involved people slipping on banana peels.” healthdiaries.com

So there you have it! If you want to be healthy and be depression free….eat lots of bananas!

QUOTE: I think cheese smells funny, but I feel bananas “are” funny. I’m assuming Swamp told the whole story of the executives seriously asking us to replace the banana with cheese because they thought it was funnier.

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Eating a banana can cheer you up. Bananas are the only fruit to contain the amino acid, tryptophan plus Vitamin B6 which together help the body produce seratonin, the natural chemical which alleviates mental depression. (It’s also found in Prozac.) That’s why we call them “nature’s good mood food.”



From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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