Monday, June 02, 2008

Man goes bananas

Talking of fruit, the two best in the world …

There were once many kinds of bananas prevalent across the world. Today virtually all of those sold in the Western world are not just the same species but often the same individual. Almost all banana trees in commercial plantations are clones of one another, identical twins multiplied by millions, propagated by cuttings. This gives great consistency in size, texture and flavour for the supermarkets. It also means that they are identically susceptible to the same infections - if a virus can kill one, it can easily kill them all. Read Johann Hari for a history of the banana industry, how the CIA aided American multinationals in the suppression of nonconformist elements to construct banana hegemony.

The second instance where supermarket insistence on consistent shape, year round availability and resistance to blemish have bastardised the product is the case of the mango. Those big bland brazilian blobs we see in Sainsbury's are nothing like the delicate delectation of the traditional Indian fruit. The Guardian food supplement yesterday had a similar lament, though it did refer to horrible terms like "pulping" and "smoothies" - yuck, it's a fruit not a drink.

(sic note - yes I know that bananas don't really grow on trees, but neither does money)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

RnB - either you've gone bananas or have been bitten by Franck