As a follow-up to my post about mangoes, I thought that I should probably also mention the lovely bananas as well. Bananas and plantains are two more staple foods here and I am not exaggerating when I say they are the best bananas I have ever eaten. One of the things that make Will and I a good team is our opinions of bananas. We are each others’ banana partner. I love under ripe to almost completely yellow bananas. I cannot stand yellow bananas and if they have spots on them, they literally make me gag. Will, on the other hand, cannot be bothered with any sort of green on his bananas. The yellower the better and the flavor is in the spots for him. So, I give him my yellow bananas and he eats them with pleasure….at least that’s the way it used to be.
Cameroonian bananas are a whole different story. Tough luck, Will! They are SO delicious! Give them to me slightly green, give them to me mostly brown. I don’t care. They are incredible! The bananas in Cameroon have about 5 billion times more flavor than American bananas. In fact, I would say that the plantains here actually taste more like American bananas.
Which brings me to my next point on the topic: Plantains. I’m not sure how many of you have eaten plantains, but I would say that most of the people in the States that have eaten plantains while in the USA haven’t enjoyed them. They are starchy and really rather dull. Not so here. Plantains are still more starchy than bananas here, but they have so much more flavor than plantains you find in North America. I eat them fried. I eat them boiled. I eat them stir-fried. I love them.
I think it all boils down to this: fresh and local food is always better than transported food. I have long thought this about the food in my gardens back home. Nothing beats a home-grown tomato. And nothing beats a home-grown banana or plantain either. Most of the produce we eat here was in the ground or on a tree in the past 24 hours. Since electricity is scarce here, if you pick it ripe, you have to eat it quickly before it goes bad.
The quality of the produce here has re-affirmed my desire ( and I think Will’s too) of growing as much of our own food as possible in the US and buying local and in season as much as we can. It really is so much better…but that’s a tirade for another day.