Bananas are a “Toy” food; they have a nice texture. Banana taste is forever easily remembered and has a great after taste. Once you have them with peanut butter, their flavor is somehow enhanced, separated out by its combination. I think the aroma of a banana is more than an apple or a pear, whose aromas come with direct taste more than distant sensing. To me, the mighty banana has a place in the memory that spans from early childhood and playing with the peeling, to youthfully trying to just hold one without peeling it (an almost impossible task).
Now who has actually seen a banana leaf, or tree for that matter? Small bunches, of course, can be seen at the grocery. I love slicing them, and playing with the peelings. Folding up the overcoat of a banana helps to hold the moment, and after many years of this relationship, I find them to be completely fun to eat, look at, handle, share, carry, set on the counter and anticipate. One day my wife found a “banana hook,” a most convienent place to keep them, and they now serve as decoration as well (they always did, I suppose). Banana consuming is like drawing or painting, you just have to do it. You can’t hold a brush or pencil in your hands without using it and you can’t hold a banana without eating it. If the color alone doesn’t invigorate you, the firm feeling of its 5 sided grinning body will. Even the rough end parts are not offensive (we know they will get pulled away and hold the overcoat flaps together for easy goofing around. I drew these banana abstractions from memory; the real leaves don’t have splits. Nothing is accurate except my feelings for them. I will paint them someday because it would be disrespectful to not include my favorite part of a banana-Yellow.
This is also like Botany of Desire. (http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_pollan_gives_a_plant_s_eye_view.html ). Those tricky bananas have us trained to love them.
Banana plants are used for high quality textiles and yarn. Used in kimonos and other clothing, as well as table cloths. The fibers of the plant make excellent art papers, banana paper dates back hundreds of years. Juice from the plant can be used as an adhesive.
Large leaves are used as umbrellas, or food wrappers, or containers for storage. Banana peelings, when powdered, can filter and extract heavy metals from river water. Banana plants are herbs. Good for eating, cooking, and making many varied recipes like banana bread, ice cream, yogurt, cake, fruit salads and toppings, baby food, sliced and fried into chips.
Fine strips of leaf edges have been used for centuries to make small threads for garlands and flower arrangements, bindings of all sorts and art projects.
Bananas can be inspiring to artists.
Bananas are “high value” school lunch trade items. Their leaf sheaths make a trunk like stem structure (Pseudostem). The plants have 8 to 12 leaves that grow up to two feet wide and 9 feet long. Bananas have about 75% water but are a good source of vitamin B6, fiber and potassium. Root systems can spread out 30 feet or more.
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