Bit of Banter on Bananas 🍌

green banana tree
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There are so very many things to be said in praise of the bounteous banana. Don’t you just love everything about them. Their smell, their color and their big umbrella leaves.

The fruits are botanically classified as berries and grow in clusters up to 100 lbs in weight. You would need a rare appetite to munch through that bunch.

Bananas come in many sizes and different colors too. While native to South Esst Asia they are now grown in tropical climes  all around the world.

Can’t remember the first time I had a banana. Most probably it was smashed up as a weaning food since they are known to be gentle even on the tiniest tummy.

What does come to mind is that banana sandwiches and bananas on toast were a quick staple meal in my childhood home.

My Mum told me stories about how, during World War II, it was impossible to find a banana. So people would improvise by mashing up parsnips and adding banana essence to them and then spreading this concoction onto bread instead of the real thing.

When I first went to work in Switzerland I once made a banana sandwich for lunch. The people working with me had had a deprived childhood and had never seen such a thing! They thought it was hilarious and for the longest time I had the nickname “La BANANE

More fond memories of the wondrous fruit include my first trip to India with Krishna. There, of course, bananas were growing in abundance including the tiny sweet baby ones that I got to taste for the first time. We bought them in the traditional market in downtown Mysore and took a big bunch with us when going to visit Krishna’s sister Kamala.

When you think of a snack size bite size treat the baby banana is nature’s original best.

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Also on this first trip to India we had plenty of the very tasty salty banana chips. They are made from underripe plantains that are deep fried in coconut oil. YUMMY!

If you haven’t tried these yet then hunt some out at your local Asian supermarket. They are so moreish so very crispy and perfectly sized for dipping. If you like spice you will certainly find some hot ones.

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What is so wonderful about the banana plant is that it grows so easily and self propagates. We eat them but so do many other species too. They are an excellent rapidly digested energy source and pack a powerful punch of minerals and antioxidants too.

Best of all not a single piece of the plant goes to waste. Herbivores like buffalo and cattle will happily munch through the skin. The leaves can be used as disposable plates and the fibrous stalks can be transformed into construction materials. The possibilities are endless and they clean up the air for us too.

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What would our world do without the glory of the big yellow berry bunch!!!

 

BOOM – BLAST!

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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

Early this morning we had a horrendous thunderstorm. It started about one o’clock and went on for well over an hour.

Of course this woke us all up and Dibley was shaking as usual.

The thunder was so powerful that the windows were shaking and you could feel the whole house vibrating.

Lying awake counting the seconds between lightening and thunder Brought back to mind the 1970s and 1980s in Belfast when we had bombs going off on a regular basis.

The houses would shake and based on the extent of the vibrations we would speculate as to where the bomb might be.

Some friends had extensive damage done to their homes when businesses and government buildings were targeted close to them.

We lost a few windows on several occasions but the closest we came to injury was when we lived in central Belfast.

Our home was in a troubled area called Roden Street that divided two deeply sectarian roads.

At one end of the street was a police station that was targeted on a regular basis.

One Friday night when I was about eleven I was in the bath for the weekly deep cleaning session.

My Dad must have won a bit of money on the horses because we had just had tiles put up around the bath.

Well you can guess what happened when the Police Station was bombed. Nearly every tile fell of the wall into the bath beside me but I didn’t get a single scratch.

We moved to the suburbs soon afterwards where we weren’t immune from bombs but were more distant from primary targets.

Those days of bombs are long gone. Northern Ireland has returned to being a beautiful peaceful place where we may hear the odd blast now and then but thankfully it is just thunder.

Blessing # 73 – The relief of the storm that has passed

BOOM – Botched to Bonnie

FCE53A45-84F9-4A9D-917A-17A09A2185CF.jpegEarly this spring I bought a pack of tomato seeds and little starter pots and potting soil.

As carefully as is possible for a speed freak like me I planted half the seeds, watered them and put them in a nice warm and light place in the hall.

With great confidence in my work I was certain that these were going to be the best and bonniest tomatoes you could have!!!!!

Alas the poor things did not do well at all. They were anemic, just like thin blades of grass and eventually shriveled up and died.

The disappointment was grave and  once again forced me to admit that  confidence alone does not yield results.

In late spring I came across the remaining half pack of seeds. With little hope of a result the seeds were just tossed into a planter on the patio to see what would happen.

Well would you believe it they started to grow. They were fine and strong little spéculums and these last minute little seeds have now become a gigantic bush.

Just sun and water and the good outdoors did the trick again and of course the hand of someone much greater than me.

Blessing # 72 – Earth and the Unearthly

BOOM – Backpack and Back to Bed

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Today school starts again in our district so of course this means an early rising.

Aaron has his first class at 7:10 so working backwards he needs to leave home at 6:35 and get up at 6:00.

In the past I had been getting up at 5:30 to get my breakfast and coffee in before waking him and heading for the shower.

All this has changed over summer in so many ways.

First, because of his job Aaron is used to getting up much earlier than he needed to today.

He has perfected the art of multi system alarms (mostly involving some dreadful music), the ultra quick shower and the no thinking OJ and cereal breakfast.

Aaron of course now has his very important driving license and he has his own car too. So he can drive to school.

Finally, there is no call for me to run around like a headless chicken getting ready for the school drop off before heading on to work.

Bottom line is there is no longer much need for Mom and Dad to get the lad to school at all.

Except of course that hugs and kisses are irreplaceable so we still set the alarm for six…………

………. and then at 6:35 went back to bed for a nice extra little snooze!!!!!

Blessing #71– No Need to Rush

BOOM – BIG Blooms

 

 

Krishna loves hibiscus plants. I think they remind him of India.

I bought him one for his birthday last November and of course it had to live indoors because it would not have made it though the Ohio winter.

The poor thing was well water but a little tired and sad looking by the time this summer came.

It was more of a stick than a plant.

In the hope of a resurrection we moved it to the front door where it would get lots of sun and attention.

Slowly it came back to life. First a few new leaves then a few more.

This second chance was well worth while.

Just yesterday it gave us the most beautiful big blooms.

These are much much larger than those when it first came home.

Maybe a little hibernation forces out the best in us!

Blessing # 70 – Fresh Air and Sunlight in Abundance

BOOM-Balle Balle Bajwa’s

In the early 1980s Krishna met a young businessman called Jaspal who was working for Nestle in India.

He also got  to know Ninoo who had recently married Jaspal. The couple went on to have two little girls and in 1984 they all moved to Nestle HQ in Switzerland so the friendship got even closer.

In 1985 when I also moved to Switzerland the beautiful Bajwas became my friends too.

Krishna and I were among the first people to meet their son when he was born and really we became like one family.

When we married in Belfast in 1986 the Bajwas stood in for Krishna’s parents and made lots of new family and friends.

We often stayed with them in India and they with us in various parts of the world. They are now in Canada and came to visit this weekend.

It was lovely to see Aaron as a young man getting to know them better too.

He learned some more about their culture. Jaspal showed Aaron how to tie a turban and also the typical Balle Balle Sikh gesture of happiness. What fun!!!

Blessing #69 – Saying Cheers After All These Years

 

BOOM -Beating the Bell, Breakfast and Brunch

 

Aaron has been on the breakfast shift all week. This means leaving home at 4:30 for a 5:00 am start.

Up until now I’ve been taking him to work, coming home and getting back into bed for a few hours.

In Ohio new drivers have a curfew between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am. So that was my « excuse » that I had to take him.

There is an exception to this rule. If the young driver can prove he is going to or coming from work. So you guessed it Aaron got a letter from his boss to say he was working early shifts.

Of course I am glad to see him working and developing independence but I can tell you it does not result in any improvements in maternal sleep patterns.

Not only am I worrying about him driving I’m worried about him getting up on time too. So since I have no alarm set on the clock my internal alarm wakes me up at regular intervals all through the night just to be sure he is up on time!!!!!

I know this is a necessary part of the parenting process but certainly not the most warm and fuzzy.

As in all things there is one advantage to this.

As Aaron had little time for breakfast this morning he was a tad hungry by the time his shift ended at 1:00.

So the lad goes to the Japanese restaurant next door to the hotel and brings himself home a takeaway the scale of which was such we all enjoyed a little light brunch!!!!!

Blessing # 68 – Tucking into Teppanyaki

BOOM – Beans

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Beans have a place in many diets and they have a place in many hearts too.

In the UK Baked Beans on toast was a staple in the diet of the 60s and 70s when I was growing up. Guess it still is today. I know Aaron loves it.

My Mum would serve me this meal as lunch when I was at primary school. I have fond memories of sitting at the table by a roaring fire eating this.

We would have lashing of butter on the toast and a good spoon in the beans too. Try it next time makes them super duper tasty.

Today we see a great resurgence in the appreciation of beans thanks to the vegan and flexitatian food trends.

So many cultures to copy in meals using beans. What better than a good bean chili or a chick pea curry. If you have a favorite bean recipe please share.

Since time immemorial in China soy milk has been the meal to start the day. Great to see such drinks on the market all around the world now and many others made with legumes being launched too.

All this is not just good for our health but good for our planet too.

This little rhyme, that some of you may know, and that is scientifically proven to be true, is a fitting end to this tribute.

Beans Beans the wonderful fruit

The more you eat the more you toot

The more you toot the better you feel

So eat those Beans with every meal!

Blessing #67 – Comfort Foods

BOOM – BLEACH

7010ECA5-5EA5-4A47-946E-41E3F0EC9983My Mum was very much a keep it clean person.

She cleared, defrosted and washed the fridge out from top to bottom ever other week. For this she used a solution of baking soda and she was constantly washing dishes and clothes too.

She also bought bleach in copious quantities. Seriously you could have sterilized an Olympic sized swimming pool with the weekly amount of bleach that was purchased.

The bleached lived in the back hall and was used in large volumes in drains, sinks the toilet and to wash down the door steps.

Mummy had a theory that it would keep the mice away.

Only one brand of bleach would do for my Mum. DOMESTOS because it « Kills all know germs DEAD! »

I did not inherit my Mum’s passion for bleach or cleaning but sometimes needs must!!!

So all this history came to mind today as I brought out the Clorox.

No bathroom surface was left untouched and any bug in the kitchen better hide because I have intentions to get them.

Aren’t we so fortunate to have such a valuable, powerful, safe and good value product as bleach.

It truly is transformational.

Blessing # 66 – Antiseptics

BOOM – Bonds Before Being

Krishna is working his way through a mountain of papers. Most days this brings a discovery of some kind that is shared with Aaron and me.

Yesterday he uncovered some old photos that were among my Mum’s papers.

These included photos of both my grandfathers.

I’d never met them as they had died many years before I was born and yet I feel I know them.

With Aaron being adopted I so wish we could find out something about his family tree.

The way Grandpa Barr is sitting with his cap on and his kind smile reminds me a lot of my Dad. He looks very approachable and simple. He even folds his arms just like my Dad did!

Grandpa Gibson looks very handsome and much more authoritative as befits the winner of the Military Medal for bravery.

Is this just my imagination or is it because we hear so much about our grandparents that we feel we know them?

Do we see our parents or loved ones or even ourselves in their faces?

What is it we know and what is it that we inherit?

Blessing # 66 – Knowing where we come from