(Week of 12/16/18)

So, Melinda and I were both in Paris the week before last, and we met for breakfast to figure out what the next The Productive Hangover list should be, and as we perused the Internet it was all Trump and Cohen and Brexit and Huawei and Yellow Vests and we were like Dear God! The world is absolutely bananas! And then we were like Hey: what about a list on actual bananas? It so happened that Melinda was eating said fruit, and mused aloud: why do these little thin-skinned French bananas taste so much better than the ones back home? To which I offered my own query: do ripe bananas, being sweeter, have more calories than unripe ones? And we both looked at each other and simultaneously voiced that nagging question on all our subconsciouses: what is the difference between a banana and a plantain?
And so, dear friends, this week we give you answers to those questions and the more serious things to know about the rise of the world’s favorite fruit. We start with the heavier bits -- a documentary on the not-so-nice rise of the industry, and an article about the race to save the varietal that now constitutes the vast majority of production from a globally-spreading fungus. We found some things to be positive about, however -- namely, five other lovely banana varietals you might like to get into, and a fascinating story about mid-20th century agriculture innovations when Iceland tried to become Europe’s banana king. We threw in a few links on practical stuff -- an explanation of “banana republic,” nutritional benefits of ripe v. unripe bananas, and the physics of banana peel slippage -- and end with two truly amazing items, a banana custard recipe and a German techno-inspired YouTube video about a man cursed with banana hands.

We hope you enjoy,



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