Friday, May 12, 2006

Yes, We Have No Bananas, We Have No Bananas Today

I was a toddler when those lyrics caught my attention. I guess I heard it on the radio, a catchy little nonsense song. Nobody had televisions yet. I was fascinated by the play on words, positive and negative, and couldn't believe that anyone would actually talk that way.

I suppose that Monkey visited the fruit market with my mother and myself, although I really can't remember. I do remember that it was the time before supermarkets, when we'd shop at the butcher shop, the bakery, the fish market, and on the ground floor of the building where my grandfather had his office was a fruit and vegetable store, with baskets of fresh produce out front. He'd always get some peas still in the pod, and after we ate the peas we'd peel the skin off the pod and eat the sweet flesh of the pod, "the best part" he'd say, "save it until last". He was also the guy who taught me how to take a freshly laid still warm egg at the farm, poke a little hole in each end of the shell with a pocket knife, and suck the egg out. No, we didn't wash the shell first and no, nobody ever heard of salmonella or worried about getting sick.

So here we are 60 years later and Monkey is visiting a Publix Supermarket as big as the entire block where that produce store was located. We didn't buy any bananas because we still had some at home. The big markets carry ordinary bananas, and they have big plantains for cooking. What they don't carry are all the other varieties. No red bananas. No sweet little thin skinned apple bananas that do smell and taste like apples. It's hard to find cellery with a full head of leaves or beets with the greens still on these days. Recently they've started carrying the little snow peas in the pod but not the big regular peas.


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5:51 AM  

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