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Why do I despise bananas, but *love* plantains??

c
Christina D Nov 7, 2006 03:35 PM

I was having this discussion with some friends and found that I'm not the only one. There were at least 3 others that felt exactly the same as me.

I understand that plantains have a higher starch content than bananas, and the flavor is certainly similar...but why would one evoke such strong emotions one way vs. the other? Is there a certain flavor component that one possesses and the other lacks?

Just wondering. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks!

  1. bolivianita Nov 7, 2006 06:48 PM

    I love both but eating a too ripe banana makes me gag. It's just too much. I like my naners when they are still green on the ends and don't have any of those brown spots. Plantains on the other hand have to be black before I will even consider frying them. (try fried plantains with eggs and rice and tomatoes.)

    1. f
      FelafelBoy Nov 7, 2006 06:59 PM

      Agreed. Very ripe bananas have a much stronger taste than slightly ripe very firm ones. Banana bread/cake is even more unappealing to me becaues of that strong banana taste ... yet ... when bananas are used to sweeten a juice drink or a pudding type mixture, the taste is pleasant to me. Guess the other ingredients moderate the banana flavor. Definitely a personal thing. My guess is that each person's taste buds are reacting differently to the chemicals in the banana, and perhaps digestive enzymes and other physiological phenomena come into play on a personal level.

      (Just out of curiosity, I wonder if chimpanzees can tell the difference between a plantain and a banana by sight or smell, and go for one over the other!)

      1. f
        fara Nov 8, 2006 12:48 AM

        i love plantains fried ripe or green. i love them every way in between. but i do not love bananas, neither green nor ripe nor fried with tripe. i do not like bananas any which way i see.

        :)
        i like banana bread though, and fruit shakes made with them, they're just not meant to be eaten by themselves if you're over the age of 4.

        1. l
          lizzy Nov 8, 2006 04:25 PM

          I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but I am allergic to bananas but not plantains.

          1. c
            cheryl_h Nov 8, 2006 06:15 PM

            I like plantains because I eat them with savory, especially spicy, foods. Bananas are usually eaten by themselves or in something sweet.

            My personal dislike of bananas originates in a childhood episode in which I ate 11 bananas one boring afternoon. I had such bad stomach cramps I was rushed to the doctor who said I had appendicitis. Of course I kept my mouth shut about the banana orgy, but ever since then the taste makes me queasy.

            1. Morton the Mousse Nov 8, 2006 07:02 PM

              It's almost impossible to find decent tasting bananas in the states; most of what is available tastes like styrofoam. Although I despise imported bananas, I love real bananas. Go eat bananas in Central or South America, if you still don't like them, then you genuinely don't like bananas.

              1. b
                bijoux16 Nov 8, 2006 08:56 PM

                I feel the same way! I thought I was the only one. for me, it's a matter of how it feels in your mouth - bananas (just plain, not cooked or fried) always feel slimy and mushy, whereas plaintains feel much more substantial, almost potato-like.

                1. w
                  Wanda Fuca Nov 8, 2006 09:10 PM

                  We used to have a banana tree in our back yard. They taste a lot different from the store bought ones. I think it may be when they pick the ones for the store. Sorta like any fruit or veggie that have to be stored around for a while before eaten.

                  A note to Morton Mouse - Bananas in the U.S. grocery are usually from Chile or other South/central American country.

                  I thought I was the only one that liked greener bananas. My hubby eats the bruisers. It makes me ill watching it. I love completely black plantains fried to a sweet crispy outside and soft inside BUT I HATE the bland tostone which are refried smashed green plantains. So I like the opposites for each. I wonder if that is true for others...

                  Crisp fried vinegary garlic pork chunks with onion, steamy bowl of black beans and rice with a plateful of freshly fried plantains... GOD! I am gonna go get some plantains.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Wanda Fuca
                    Morton the Mousse Nov 8, 2006 09:54 PM

                    You hit the nail on the head. Bananas in the store may come from South and Central America, but they are picked green and ripened with gas, which makes any fruit taste terrible. If you go to the source, they are picked ripe, and the flavor and texture are far superior. You were really lucky to have a healthy banana tree in the states; those things are rare, and the fruit is just incredible.

                  2. w
                    Wanda Fuca Nov 8, 2006 09:13 PM

                    Oh yeah... one more thing... the worst is banana flavoring. Gag. It is like a hundred overripened bananas invading your mouth, seeping into your nose and saturating every pore. Pththth!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Wanda Fuca
                      f
                      fara Nov 10, 2006 03:40 AM

                      i still remember a thick antibiotic syrup i had to take as a kid, flavored w/ artificial banana.

                    2. DanaB Nov 8, 2006 10:35 PM

                      I like both bananas and plantains.

                      As to bananas, I often eat one every day -- at minimum 3 or 4 times a week. I like them best when they are perfectly ripe, but as much as I like them, I can't tolerate them when they get overripe and mushy. It's a texture thing for me, I think.

                      As for varieties, the bananas you get in hawaii are delicious -- they are smaller, with almost a pink tinge to the flesh -- called "apple bananas."

                      Whenever I hear that somebody doesn't like bananas, it makes me think of the scene in James Michener's Hawaii, when the missionaries are going around the 'horn on their way to Hawaii, and are given bananas to eat (for the vitamins), and they find them loathesome and difficult to eat.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: DanaB
                        w
                        Wanda Fuca Nov 11, 2006 05:53 AM

                        Not only that... bananas are bad luck on boats. Just thought I'd mention that. ; )

                      2. c
                        chilihead Nov 11, 2006 10:54 AM

                        Bad luck on boats? From where, which culture, does that one come from? I can understand them not doing well in the crash and bang environment of a sailboat, but is there more to the belief?
                        I ask because yesterday I had a rather lively conversation with my students on superstition where we looked at the social function and motivation of such beliefs.

                        I agree with Wanda Fuca on fried green plantains, though my distaste stems from a time and place where in every meal the inevitable tostone made its appearance. After three monthes of that I have never recovered.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: chilihead
                          w
                          Wanda Fuca Nov 11, 2006 07:07 PM

                          I see others have told you why no bananas on boats so I won't go there. If you want to examine a group who have held on to long standing superstition (many who do not even know why)... I suggest sailors and atheletes (esp. baseballers). Sailors obviously have superstition longevity. Baseball, strange, self imposed superstition that they make up for themselves. An interesting topic. I guess you could include the "Old Wives" as well.

                          A curiosity on our boat. Day sails - Bananas welcome. Sails when we will be anchoring that evening and the bananas are for a specific use (no joke) then, ok. Sails involving overnight/ multiday passages... If I even think about bringing a banana I get questions like "are you trying to foul the trip?" I do not even pack banana bread or have the lingering odor of banana on my breath as we set sail. Oy.

                        2. susancinsf Nov 11, 2006 04:12 PM

                          Here are some versions of the bananas and boats bad luck story: apparently if the bananas get overripe it means you've been out too long and not caught any fish. and then, there is the potential to slip and fall on a peal and end up in the drink:

                          http://www.azinet.com/captjim/bananas...

                          I knew I disliked bananas for a reason! (I spend a fair amount of time on boats).

                          This discussion is of interest to me, because I LOATHE bananas, but lately have been thinking about trying plantains, which I've always avoided thinking they would basically just be another banana...

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