Saturday, June 6, 2015

Books and…Bananas?

If you've read my blog at all, you know that there isn't much I like more than books.  I love books.  I love to talk about books.

But you know what makes books even better?  Booze, especially when enjoyed with bread (bread here meaning "bit, piece, morsel [of food].") (Thanks OED).

That leads me to this.  In attempting to revamp my blog, I'm going to call on my certification in Beer, Wine, Mixology, and Bar Management (remember when that happened?), my repertoire of cooking skillz (still working on that), and my obsession with books to bring perfect pairings to your library.  Or kitchen.  Or dorm room.

So let's get started.  Unfortunately, there's no alcohol in today's pairing -- partly because I don't have any banana liqueur lying around and partly because I'm reviewing a kids book.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate won the Newbery Medal in 2013.  I had high expectations, even though I didn't know what to anticipate story-wise.

It's a simple story.  Ivan is a gorilla who lives a mundane existence in a mall.  He loves to paint -- bananas, usually -- but his artistic skills aren't enough to draw a large crowd.  In an attempt to rescue the business, his owner purchases a baby elephant named Ruby to join an older elephant named Stella.  Being wise, Stella knows that she's dying -- and she makes Ivan promise to help Ruby escape the mall.

That's the basic set-up.  It's a cute story with endearing characters that makes its reader consider the exploitation of animals.  Is it memorable?  Hard to say, considering I read it a week ago.  I forget some of the characters' names.  So there's that.  In a way, it's Water for Elephants for ten-year olds.  I, by the way, am not a ten-year old, but I think children's literature is of the utmost importance -- especially when it has the heart of The One and Only Ivan.

But you know what makes this book even better?  Fried bananas.  Ivan loves bananas.  He paints bananas.  I don't paint bananas, but I eat them.  Fried.  With honey, and maybe some other stuff if I'm feeling really creative.

Fried Bananas

It's simple.  A gorilla could probably do it.  Take a banana.  Green is good.  Slice it.  Lay the pieces in a greased skillet.  After a minute or so, flip them so that the other side gets cooked, too.  Then drizzle honey over the pieces.  Remove from skillet.

Top with anything and everything.  Shredded coconut.  Chocolate chips.  Walnuts.  Cinnamon.  Whatever.  I don't care.

Guys, I'm really good at food photography.

P.S.  If you can find a way to work rum into the recipe, tell me.

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