[Sca-cooks] Another, older, banana found in London

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Thu Jul 15 14:00:59 PDT 2010

<<< If you read the date on the article, it's from 1999.

/Margaret >>>

Oops. My apologies. The date is pretty obvious at the top of the article. I guess I just skipped that small print and went to reading the article, and when they said this was the earliest banana found, assumed that it was earlier than the one we discussed a while back, not realizing they were one and the same.

Thank you Bear for the update on the genetic testing of this "banana". I hadn't heard of it testing out to be a plantain. 

But even if it is a plantain, I'm still wondering how common it was in England or the continent. And if it was, what happened? Plantains aren't very common in the Europe or the US now. Did the Cavendish banana drive off all the competitors? Afterall, you can cook bananas or eat them raw, which you can't do with a plantain. And this particular banana is sweeter.

In case folks aren't aware of it, almost all commercial bananas are identical, genetic clones of the same asexual plant. Mankind has so modified the plant that it cannot reproduce by seeds. Which is why commercial banana crops are in danger of being wiped out whenever a pest manages to adapt to the environment of the plant.

Very interesting book:

Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World
Koeppel, Dan
ISBN: 1-59463-038-0
304 pages, 2008

"From Publishers Weekly
The world's most humble fruit has caused inordinate damage to nature and man, and Popular Science journalist Koeppel (To See Every Bird on Earth) embarks on an intelligent, chock-a-block sifting through the havoc. Seedless, sexless bananas evolved from a wild inedible fruit first cultivated in Southeast Asia, and was probably the apple that got Adam and Eve in trouble in the Garden of Eden. From there the fruit traveled to Africa and across the Pacific, arriving on U.S. shores probably with the Europeans in the 15th century. However, the history of the banana turned sinister as American businessmen caught on to the marketability of this popular, highly perishable fruit then grown in Jamaica. Thanks to the building of the railroad through Costa Rica by the turn of the century, the United Fruit company flourished in Central America, its tentacles extending into all facets of government and industry, toppling banana republics and igniting labor wars. Meanwhile, the Gros Michel variety was annihilated by a fungus called Panama disease (Sigatoka), which today threatens the favored Cavendish, as Koeppel sounds the alarm, shuttling to genetics-engineering labs from Honduras to Belgium. His sage, informative study poses the question fairly whether it's time for consumers to reverse a century of strife and exploitation epitomized by the purchase of one banana. (Jan.) 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.   

"Clear, engaging&#x85;admirable&#x85;part historical narrative and part pop-science adventure." 
-San Francisco Chronicle  --This text refers to the   Paperback edition."


THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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