Once fully ripe, the gros michel do taste pretty different from the cavendish. I wouldn't say they taste more different than the difference between a manzano banana and a cavendish or a baby banana and a cavendish.
We started with fried Hawaiian plantain, and then tried the small amount of non-gross saba I salvaged from my moldy bunch. They were... uh... okay, I guess. I'll have to try them again later when I have time to ripen them correctly because I couldn't tell if the funky flavor was due to them being overripe or if they're just kind of weird tasting.
We moved on to the real banana comparison of manzanos, baby, cavendish, and gros michel. (Alas, my red bananas were not ripe in time. And the manzanos were barely ripe.)
We finished up with baked plantains. And also, it was fucking cold, so here's a picture of one of my Jewish friends wearing that horrible novelty blanket from the viral Hanukkah merchandise post. (Did I buy this and inflict it on friends? Of course I did.) Long live the Hanukkah nazgul!
And now, the info you've all been waiting for: What do they taste like and were all those Captain America fics right?
They're hard to describe?
That's horribly inadequate, but it's true. They taste different, but it's kind of like how different apples taste different. And I don't mean like granny smith vs. gala. I mean like pink lady vs. gala.
When people say that gros michel are more "candy-like", that's true, but not in quite the way I imagined. They're not really any more sugary than the cavendish. They're sort of brighter and more intense. When a little overripe, I suspect they'd be cloying in a way cavendish rarely are due to blandness.
I guess you might say they're like a cavendish with a hint of the flavor of very, very ripe baked plantains, but much lighter and less woody. That's the sort of "candy" vibe people mean. (Not the caramelized plantains either. The ones you let get suuuuper ripe before baking in the skins, as pictured above.)
What they almost remind me of is the smell and flavor of an overripe cavendish, except they're still nice and firm and pale yellow, not gloppy and old. And for this reason, not everyone present was fond of them. There was some cognitive dissonance because they seem like they should be riper than they really are.
One person preferred the manzanos (because some people are just wrong). Some people preferred the cavendish for being a little blander. The gros michel were a hit with the people who like their bananas well ripened usually. Those of us who like barely-ripe bananas didn't find the gros michel wildly better than the cavendish, though a lot of us thought they were a little better.
I am not at all convinced that Steve or Bucky would notice that Bananas Taste Funny Now. I mean, they might. But they might also think most produce, meat, milk, and a lot of other things all taste funny. They might be the prissiest farmers' market shoppers ever, drinking only the frou-frou milk in the glass bottles straight from the organic farm.
Food absolutely would taste different now, but I think it would be tons and tons of food, not just this one thing. In fact, I'll bet a lot of food would taste different in the same way. Shelf-stable modern versions of things tend to be kind of flavorless and tough. Some of what they'd have been used to (despite growing up poor) might have been a little less processed and bred for long-distance transport. (But then again, I'm no expert on this type of food history. Maybe they ate tons of canned crap?)
Is it worth spending $70 on Captain America-inspired banana experiments?
Frankly, I'm dubious.
If you have lots of disposable income and want to give it a whirl, sure. Miami Fruit is the only source I'm aware of in the US.
If you just want to have a sense of how it might be different for writing MCU fic, I'd head for the nearest Asian or Latin market (assuming you live in a banana-impoverished location like the US and not one of the many places that already has multiple bananas on the shelves of all normal markets). Pick up some baby bananas (or whatever they've got) and some regular cavendish and compare those flavors. That would give you enough of a sense of two things that taste like banana but also different.
As a food nerd, I am of course delighted to have tried these. I think they're totally worth getting as a curiosity for a party of fandom friends or a party of food nerds.
But it seems to me that the hype is due to a lot of native English speakers being from places that only ever have one type of banana. Sure, gros michel are probably better than the cavendish by a bit, but there are so many bananas. You might like a really random one best, just as there are many people with weird apple preferences.
As we turn the corner into the month of Hanukkah, a reminder for the gentiles:
Hanukkah is NOT “Jewish Christmas!”
No. No no no.
1) Christmas is one of the two most theologically important holidays in Christianity. Hanukkah doesn’t even crack the top ten, at least theologically speaking, in Judaism. (I would not, of course, denigrate those for whom Hanukkah is an important point of connection to Judaism, as that’s a different conversation.)
2) Christmas celebrates the miraculous birth of the Christian deity (at least into one of the deity’s three component parts) on Earth. Hanukkah celebrates a military victory by observant, unassimilated Jews over the Assyrian Greeks and assimilated Jews and the reinstatement of a Jewish monarchy. ￼
Birth vs Lots of Death (albeit of the Hasmoneans’ enemies).
3) For a very long time, Christmas has included the giving of gifts (though the form varied of course between times and cultures). Hanukkah didn’t, for much of its existence, beyond the provision of gelt (that is, money) to children. Many American and westernized Jews give gifts to their children these days, but that was largely borne out of making Hanukkah more appealing to make celebrating Christmas less appealing and even now it is far from universal.
4) Christians cannot work on Christmas (unsurprisingly, given its importance as a holiday), at least in the five largest denominations of the religion (other groups practices vary). Jews can work on Hanukkah (though they may leave early to light the Hanukkiah).
4a) Side note: Hanukkiah is the specific name for the candelabraum we use for Hanukkah (9 branches). Menorah translates to “lamp” and traditionally has seven branches but need not, necessarily. All Hanukkiyot are menorot, not all menorot are Hanukkiyot.
Now, none of this means that we don’t love and enjoy Hanukkah. We do! Fried latkes and sufganiyot, dairy products, child-appropriate gambling, songs….what could be better? But it is very, very much not “Jewish Christmas”.
I moved into my current neighborhood in the middle of the 2020 plauge summer, and consequently I know fuck all about my neighbors and they know fuck all about me, except I might have changed that last night.
Herschel is coming up on his first birthday, and like most baby corgi, he is a hyperactive little shitgibbon that thinks everyone in the world exists to pay attention to him, and he's not totally wrong. So every so often he will invent a new trick for funsies, and his lastest one is the "D'aww": He'll pick up one of his toys, carry it over to wherever Husbeast or I are sitting, wait until we look at him, then sit with his back to us and dramatically flip his head back to show off his toy and his beast "Ain't I A Cutie?" face. It is. Dangerously adorable.
Now, he's very good at judging user engagement and will hone his tricks for maximum attention and treats, which means he's got one toy in particular that's his favorite to do this with. My neighbor had given us a box of her former dog's toys when we got him, and one of those toys is a totally plain hard black rubber sausage-shaped tube that you can stuff treats into and entertain a puppy for up to 20 minutes sometimes, but...
Yeah, it looks like a Dildo.
So you can imagine the first time he did the D'aww and suprised me with the Donger Dog Toy, I fucking howled. And now Herschel thinks this is THE toy to do this trick with for maximum attention.
Now, I've also been trying to teach him to carry a toy in his mouth when we go on walks because it keeps him from eating garbage, so last night when he picked up The Treat Tube when it was time for his late-night walk, I told him what a good boy he was and let him take it out with him. Would I have preferred one of the stuffed toys? Yeah, but it was 9PM on a Thursday who was gonna be out to see this?
Well, apparently it's the hot new thing to do an Early Trick-Or-Treat with a smaller group of children to only a select few houses, and it's honestly not a bad idea- less risk of covid exposure, since all the houses are in on it you can make sure the treats are all allergy-safe without singling out a kid, and you don't have to do it Halloween Night which is a school night this year.
None of this helped me when I turned a corner to find a gaggle of children and PTA Parents, and the World's Most Outgoing Dog sprinted for them, sat down with his back to them and dramatically revealed his toy- a 10-inch black rubber tube- on a dimly lit street.
The children naturally only saw A Puppy and fawned attention but I was hit with three PTA Moms telepathically beaming the message IS THAT A DILDO?? at me with some Very Intense Eye Contact.
"I Swear To God That's A Dog Toy." I blurt out.
Two of the Mom's break Eye Contact to lecture thier children about "ASK if you can pet the dog!!" But one just starts laughing her ass off about this. She's about 4'10, there's an open wine bottle in her jack-o-lantern bucket, and she and both her sons are Batmen. She's a remarkably convincing Joker.
"I'm so sorry, he loves people, that's his favorite chew toy." I explain as Herschel rolls over, esctatic for belly rubs, hurgling little goblin noises around The Tube.
"He's adorable. I just hope he doesn't sleep in bed with you!" She says, before leaning over conspiratorily. "-He might be a real danger to your husband!"
So now I have a new neighborhood bestie and my dog is determined to show everyone his Moderately Alarming Toy Suprise Trick, which is gonna be a real hit at the Vet's Office next week.
(if this made you laugh, please consider donating to my Ko-Fi or Patreon so I can buy Herschel even more morally suspect Dog toys)
80′s/90′s Local Television Hanukkah Station IDs/Bumpers Part 3
1. WPIX-TV, New York City, New York, 1982.
2. WCBS-TV, New York City, New York, 1993.
3. WRGB-TV, Schenectady, New York, 1985.
4. WLBZ-TV, Bangor, Maine, 1988.
5. WVTM-TV, Birmingham, Alabama, 1997.
6. WFMJ-TV, Youngstown, Ohio, 1996.
Part 1 (x)
Part 2 (x)
We got about 10-11 inches of snow last night. One of the dogs is slightly more equipped to handle this than the other.
By which I mean Herschel thinks it a hilarious game to climb in the snow shovel at the last second so despite my best efforts to not do this, I yeet him into the snowbank and he wiggles his way out like a tiny adorable and sandworm with no survival instincts.