The Magical FruitPosted: September 14, 2011
I don’t understand bananas. Bill and I were grocery shopping and we had to replenish Mom’s banana supply. We used to go to the grocery store several times a week just to make a banana run until finally, after much experimentation and trial and error, we came up with a semi-scientific method of banana management.
First, we have to factor in how many bananas are currently ripening on the kitchen counter. Then we have to determine their ‘brownage’ factor. If we conclude that they’re verging on being too brown for Mom to consider eatable, we have to eliminate them from the on-hand inventory count because there is a point of brownage from which there is no return and they get thrown in the trash. Then we have to weigh the greenishness of the bananas on display in the produce department and evaluate the length of time remaining until they reach the over-brownage factor. We try to buy just enough to get up to, but not beyond, optimum brownage. And finally, we have to select the perfect size. Large bananas are out because Mom can’t eat more than about 6 inches of fruit. We’ve tried getting bigger, but really curvy bananas so they don’t look longer, but she’s on to us and complains every morning while she’s peeling.
“Honey,” she laments. “These are just too big and I can’t eat it all. I hate to waste it, but I know I’m going to throw part of it away.”
I’m not sure why, along with her little breakfast bar and glass of orange juice, she can’t eat another 2 inches of banana. It’s truly a digestive mystery since at dinner she can snarf down a half slab of ribs, coleslaw, and camp potatoes and still have room for two scoops of mint-chocolate chip ice cream!
But, back to the produce department. Besides the Ensure shelves, the banana display is the most popular place in the Sun City Safeway. Seniors gather here in droves. It’s like a RAVE for the geriatric set. They talk about the latest cruise they were on, brag about grand children, discuss politics and candidates, and complain about the lack of handicapped parking spots.
They hover over the green and yellow bunches, using their own system of fruit selection. The banana display is always piled high with fruit – unless it’s on sale. Then, within minutes after the produce manager has stocked the bins, they’re instantly emptied by grasping, shoving seniors. A mark down of 59 a pound to 49 a pound is tantamount to a banana tsunami. And if it’s Senior Discount Day on top of a sale – well you might as well stay home because I think they actually lay in wait by the back loading bay and attack the Chiquita delivery truck before it can even be unloaded.
Anyway, as I said at the beginning of this rather rambling conversation, Bill and I don’t understand bananas. They’re like crack for seniors. They must have their bananas every single day. They don’t go crazy for apples or grapes or oranges. Grapefruit, cantaloupe, peaches and pears seem to have only a mild appeal. They will, however, attack you over a strawberry sale (see The Great Strawberry War for the gory details). So what is it that keeps them coming back for the bananas? Potassium? Memories of past loves? Symbolically stripping the wrapping off a pale, creamy body? We just don’t know. Maybe the Bobbers could tell us, but, quite frankly, we’re afraid to ask. I hope if Bill and I ever start to yearn for a daily banana it’s well blended inside a Daiquiri.