From which end of the banana do you eat?
Meeting other cultures makes you question your own ‘normal’ behaviour. The other day a visitor was offered a home grown organic banana by Nived, Dokmai Garden’s cook and herb master. Our guest gratefully accepted the offer and began peeling the banana the western way, i.e. grabbing the cut woody stalk where the banana was once attached. Nived laughed loudly and said “no, no, no” and then she took the banana back, turned it, and began peeling from the other end, i.e. the free end of the banana.
I had never considered there was an alternative, and so I asked why this end was better, because to me the cut end has a ‘handle’ which simplifies peeling. Nived said that end is more sticky and hard, and makes the peel crack causing a mess. Indeed a freshly cut banana has a sticky sap that will stain textiles, while that is no problem in western supermarkets since the bananas’ cut ends have dried since harvest. However, backyard Thai bananas are harvested when the first top bananas turn yellow, and then kept at home for a few days so their cut ends are dry too. I don’t think it matters from which end you eat your banana. Like with religious ceremony, it is just a selected custom to experience the same thing.
Text & Photo: Eric Danell