My parents don’t recall when they introduced me to vegetables or what my response was. However, buried in the scant writing of my baby book there is a statement that continues to define my tastes: “Penney loves bananas!”

I took banana baby food for lunch in jars through junior high. Once I could drive, my post school treat was often a banana milkshake from Sonic. I received a hand-painted monkey banana holder from my big sis for my first apartment. I can admit teaching my little sister to spell the word through Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl song, “The sh*t is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s!” — with lyrics edited for a 4-year old of course. I keep a bunch of bananas on hand whenever possible. If I could figure out how to travel without them turning into bruised mush, I would never need another Lara bar.

All that said, I’m not a big banana bread fan. It tastes like heavy, grease-laden, semi-sweet flour on my tongue. My prefered  approaches to banana consumption include:

  • Plain and slightly green. Maybe with almond or peanut butter
  • Banana’s Foster: Gotta love it en flambe, and it makes an impressive camping dessert too.
  • Banana Pudding: Using banana creme pudding instead of vanilla.
  • Banana Cream Pie: No chocolate or caramel, and minimal fluff on top. I don’t actually have a go-to recipe for this one. I dig this article from the NYT on perfecting the homemade version, though.
  • Grilled Bananas. My little sister’s girl scout troop made these and she brought home the recipe. Surprisingly satisfactory, especially if you add a few chocolate chips to the skin for melty goodness.

I recently stumbled across this article on the history of bananas in the American diet and feel obligated to share it. Peel on, folks!

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