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Thursday, 25 April 2019


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I lived in Pakistan for several years in the ‘80s and had a banana tree in the back yard, Little bananas, maybe 4-5 inches long at most. Nothing like them. Supermarket bananas can’t hold a candle to them.

I remember hearing a radio interview with a banana expert, who said of all the many varieties he had tasted the Cavendish was perhaps the LEAST tasty.

You can still get Gros Michel bananas but they are a spendy treat for sure.

A bunch ( yes a pun, you can depend on one whenever bananas slip into the conversation ) of other a-peeling varieties are available as well.

Or you could grow your own

Well *you* would probably have to split to a more temperate climate or build a greenhouse

You can give a person a fish, you will feed him for a day.
If you teach a man how to catch a fish, you feed him for his life.
I love bananas, and I live in a small Mexican Pueblo where the streets are lined with Mango trees and Papaya and Banana plants. Interestingly in Cuba, the healthy people there, eat all of this stuff for almost free.
I'm assuming in the finger lakes, you have wonderful Blueberries, apples, and trout. enjoy the life.....

Baby/lady-finger bananas (musa acuminata) taste best. Hope they are spared the fungus.

Love Atlantic cod. Had fish and chips made with Chatham (Cape Code) cod a couple years back at, of all places, the Newark Airport. Best fish I've had in a long time.

Interesting about the 'Yes, we have no...'. I don't know how often you hear it in the States, but here in the UK I must have heard it a hundred times. Every period drama, every look back at the days of music hall and variety shows, the rise of radio - whatever it is, 'Yes, we have no bananas' will be there. I like it, it's catchy - and now I hear it in my head sung by a man with a thick accent and a less than perfect command of English.

I remember in South America seeing bananas hanging from trees with the bunches of bunches in huge plastic bags - groves and groves of them. I guessed it was to protect against insect or mould invasion. That was thirty years ago.

When I saw the famous Velvet Underground banana, I thought this column might be about Loud Reed's photography. adamsongallery.com has a nice selection of his work.

Bananas ...yech! I eat fried Jalapeño Spam for breakfast https://www.amazon.com/Spam-Jalape%C3%B1o-12-Ounce-Can/dp/B00FG1AZV2?th=1
I haven't had the flu, or even a cold in years—must be because of my healthful diet.

So starting sentences with "So" makes me young folks, instead of old folks. So even though I'm 79, I'm still younger that Mike—Joe say it ain't so 8-)

Cya l8r alligator, I'm off for a waddle on this nice spring day.

There is hope.

Resistant Cultivars.
Two genetic engineering strategies, one involving the introduction of a resistance gene isolated from a wild relative of the banana and the other of an anti-apoptosis gene derived from a nematode, are being tested in Australia. Two of the evaluated lines were still free of the disease after three years of a field trial conducted in the Northern Territory.

(references removed)

DuPont once used the slogan, "Better Things for Better Living … Through Chemistry." Perhaps today better comes through genetics.

I don't have the article in front of me, but disease-resistant Cavendish bananas have been developed using genetic modification. But growers aren't using them because of the West's fears of anything genetically modified.

Maybe those cod are having a hard time coming back because directly and indirectly they’re also subject to many other stresses these days. Start with a warming ocean.

A real crisis in addressing environmental problems is that too many refuse to accept that people are to blame for a lot and that people, in turn, can do a lot to solve problems.

There’s a willful ignorance in operation. Back in the 90s I casually surveyed people who didn’t agree with the theory of evolution. Only one of the dozen I spoke with could state the theory or even come close. People can talk themselves into almost any position. We all suffer, the planet suffers, because of it.

I remember hearing a Terry Gross interview with a guy who had traveled the world tasting bananas and of course wrote a book about it. Worth a listen if you're interested in that sort of thing.


That may explain the banana problem I have noticed here in the Balearics: buy four and, if you eat one per day, there's a good chance that the third and fourth may find themselves in the trash bin. They just don't keep well anymore; even some that look fine from the outside have bruises when you peel away the skin. Didn't use to be like that. They have plantations in the Canary Islands, but we seem to import from everywhere; I guess the Canaries can't handle the demand. Or, they grow too much and it gets kept too long in supermarket freezers.

Cod. Britain and Iceland fought a serious war over cod fishing during the 50s; real warship confrontations out in the Atlantic. Spain is another country with a massive fishing fleet and appetite. During the 80s and 90s we used to get marvelous swordfish - emperador - that made fantastic meals. I haven't seen any in the fishmonger shops in years. Maybe we'll all have to start eating goldfish from the pet shops.

The Atlantic Cod has been in exponential population decline for well over 100 years. But it may be crossing the extinction tipping point.

I grew up near Cape Cod. Fish and Chips was a Friday night standard but Haddock was the preferred fish for such a delicacy. Then Haddock became scarce and Cod became the "go to" white fish. 40 years ago on a good day you could pull up all the Cod you wanted if the timing was right while out on a boat. That's gone now.

Here in Texas wild caught Alaskan Cod is still affordable and found on ice in my local market.

(By coincidence it's Flounder for dinner tonight.)

I suggest watching “Our Planet” on Netflix. It’s a realistic - if somewhat depressing- viewpoint on the future of our planet and us. https://www.netflix.com/title/80049832

If there is a demand and money to be made, some scientist will genetically modify bananas that don't succumb to the fungus.

As for the cod, unless they can be farmed like the salmon, it's sad news.

Yes, we have a photo book with no photos.
I heard this interview on NPR this afternoon, while driving home:


A fictional story, no photographs, but descriptions based on actual photographs from noted photographers, plus some imagined photographs. Takes just a few minutes to listen.

Industrial agriculture favors monoculture, because economies of scale produce greater profits. Unfortunately, they create vulnerabilities that can wipe out entire food categories. Ain't capitalism great?

Glad to see the Top Banana at TOP is well enough to post.
Sad to read, yet again, about this potential demise of the current banana. This fungus strain has been around for some years now. I recall reading about it a few years back, hoping science would come to the rescue to save the bananas.

A recent “Freakonomics” radio show/podcast on this subject: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/bananas/

Day-O. Oh, no!

Time to de-lurk. There are more than 300 different varieties of bananas and the problem is simply that we westerners only know the Cavendish. I was told some years ago that in India the Cavendish is sneeringly referred to as the Hotel Banana as only tourists eat them rather than the many, tastier local varieties. I believe that only the Cavendish is endangered.

The Icelandic Cod Wars were in the 1970s and the Royal Navy got pretty much humiliated. Its destroyers were designed for the nuclear wars and not for being rammed by tough little Icelandic corvettes. I was a young trainee solicitor in Hull at the time and the fishing industry collapsed almost overnight. I spent unhappy days representing either unemployed dockers and trawlermen who had bashed their wives or the bashed wives.

This probably explains why I gave up the law shortly after qualifying and never married.

The problem with the Cavendish, I remember reading, is that it does not produce viable seeds, thus robbing it of a chance to evolve away from pathogens.

Hmmm... being a native of a region of the world with one of the highest biodiversity, let me stick my neck out and say that "banana" should be treated as a generic term like "berry". There are hundreds of varieties of bananas that are totally different from each other in size, shape, colour, texture, uses, that limiting banana to Cavendish would be as unfair as limiting berries to, say, mulberry. And in my part of the woods, Cavendish like varieties are among the least valued.

This lack of awareness is not limited to temperate climates. In the state of Kerala in south western India, each type of "banana" has its own name, whereas in north India they generally use a single word for all types because they too do not have many cultivars like in south India or in South East Asia (see Mani Sitaraman's post about Singapore).

Back in Go-Go 80's, there was a fish species in the Gulf known as red drum, which was considered a trash fish (fishermen would toss it over the side if it came up in their nets). Then some New Orleans chef, whose name I don't recall, came out with a best-selling cokbook with a recipe for blackened redfish (red drum), and it was very nearly fished to extinction.

The collapse of our Atlantic cod fishery is not entirely due to overfishing of that species. Overfishing of cod's food sources is a major contributor. In order to provide the supplement industry with 'fish oil' as a source of omega 3s the ocean is being scrubbed clean of herring sized fish caught for their oils that used to be a major food source for cod, tuna and others. Cod and others we enjoy are being starved out in the Atlantic.

Krill oil from Antarctica is a better source of omega 3s but sooner or later overfishing of krill will disrupt the natural food cycles down there.

I still find really good cod from Alaska.

When I was seventeen I went to Venezuela and Colombia, and in Colombia traveled down the Magdalena River on a stern-wheel paddleboat just like Mark Twain once piloted (except that it ran on diesel.) Anyway, we got stuck on a sand bar and ran out of food, except for a load of unripe bananas that the boat was carrying down to Cartagena. -- platanos, in Spanish, or plantains in English. They are specifically harvested for cooking. For two days, we ate nothing but fried (in lard) unripe bananas. Not been a big banana guy since then. Cooked plantains are a big part of the diet in some Central and South American countries, and in parts of Africa; we see them as banana chips in the US.

Maybe it's the momentary lull of excitement in the camera industry, or maybe you're hitting your stride with OT posts, but I'm starting to enjoy OT more than on-topic. Am I alone?

Ever noticed that banana-flavored candy doesn't taste like bananas? That's probably because the flavor was based on the Gros Michel instead of the Cavendish that we eat today.


You could say that Kurlansky recorded a codpast.

A thing about bananas: after my first heart attack the cardio told me to eat lots of fruit. I evinced my liking for bananas but he was less than impressed: too much sugar, he advised.

As with the coffee limit of a single cup per day, I stretch the banana embargo to a few a week. What the hell, something's gonna be fatal sooner or later.


The banana thing appears to be going round Twitter (again?) at the moment, as coincidentally I read about the same topic earlier this afternoon. Here's a good link, by a writer who went to some effort to sample a Gros Michel: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/gros-michel-bananas (But treat the story about artifical banana flavouring with caution: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140829-the-secrets-of-fake-flavours !) It's a fun bit of random knowledge for a weekend though (well, except for the part about maybe one day having no bananas).

I was just reading an article about the Northeast Atlantic cod doing pretty good these days after a new set of fishing rules and quotas were agreed upon by the fishing countries a few years back. An interesting point was that farmed fish production is now reaching parity with wild fish (a lot of cod gets caught off Norway to be put in farms to wait for the right time to sell).

As for bananas, four plants dominate commercial production, namely wheat, maize, rice and potato. Monoculture is not good for us, or the planet.

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