I’m not going to say I play favorites when it comes to eating my fruits and vegetables. Bring me a nice plate of pineapple or some steamed broccoli any day, and I’ll gladly wolf them down. True, I have been known to turn my nose up at the occasional egg plant or brussels sprouts, but in general, if I come across a vegetable or a fruit that’s ready to eat, I’m not against eating it.
This is something Denisa has marveled at for years. How I’ll eat something if it’s ready, but if it’s not ready, it’s as if it doesn’t exist in the refrigerator. But come on. When I’m moseying over to the fridge, it’s because I want something to eat this second. I want the lowest bar possible. Something I can take out of there and consume right now.
This is where vegetables uniformly break down for me. Steaming something? Cutting it up into pieces? If I wanted to build something, I would have looked for a Lego set. I want something to eat, not a Choose Your Own Adventure. And even when the veggie looks like you should be able to eat it right away, there are still all these steps around it.
Carrots. They should be straightforward. You grab the carrot and eat it. Instead, you typically have to wash the carrot, peel the carrot, and then eat the carrot. I don’t have time to give my vegetable a spa treatment. I’m hungry, and the last thing I want to have to deal with is needy food. I want my relationship with my food to be as brief as possible when I’m looking for a snack. You grab a granola bar, and all you have to do is unwrap the sucker. No need to go looking for cutlery. No need to be near a faucet. At most, all you need is a trash can to throw away the wrapper, and even then, you can just shove the wrapper in your pocket and throw it away later. (Pro tip: do not forget to throw the wrapper away later. Especially if you put your pants into the wash and your wife finds the wrapper . . . )
It’s true that science has discovered (apparently) that if you kill the carrot before it’s fully grown, you can just eat it straight from the bag, ala baby carrots. And baby carrots are about as good as it gets for vegetables. But don’t you feel even the tiniest bit guilty, eating a baby carrot? I mean, you eat veal, and people call you a monster for eating baby cows. But baby carrots are somehow more humane? That’s lifeist, is what that is. As if just because carrots can’t moo they don’t matter. Not that I’m one to talk, as a self-confessed omnivore, but still. Baby carrots? Can’t we call them something else, at least? How about . . . carrot poppers? Carrot tots? Mini carrots? Healthy cheetos?
But nothing in nature quite takes the “I don’t want you to eat me ever” approach to food quite like fruit. Almost any fruit I can think of is rife with danger. Apples have a tendency to get their peels stuck in my teeth, or else they sabotage you with surprise juiciness. (You ever tried to clean a beard up after you’ve dribbled apple juice deep down into the the sub-layers?) Oranges hold onto their peels for dear life. True story: I once sliced off my fingernail when I was trying to peel an orange. (Yes, I was about seven at the time, but still. My fingernail!)
And those are the relatively benign looking fruits. Who in the world looked at a pineapple the first time and decided, “I think I want to put that in my mouth”? Then you’ve got things like mangoes, which are delicious, but I don’t think there’s an actual way to eat one without getting juice over everything. Cherries? Wonderful, but they’ve got those pits inside waiting to surprise you. Blackberries leave little seeds everywhere. Lemons are just pretending to be fruit.
No, when you get right down to it, there’s really only one perfect fruit: the banana.
The banana has no seeds. It doesn’t need to be washed. It comes with its own biodegradable wrapper that’s pretty much the easiest thing to open ever. Better yet, you don’t have to worry about forgetting that wrapper in your pocket, because what sort of a monster would put a banana peel in their pocket?
Bananas taste good at any meal. In cereal or on pancakes. In a peanut butter banana sandwich. Fruit salad. Banana split. They’re the swiss army knives of healthiness. Don’t believe me? Try making a vegetable do any of that. When’s the last peanut butter tomato sandwich you enjoyed? I rest my case.
There’s a reason bananas have become my go-to choice for healthy snacks. Better yet, there are a wide variety of bananas out there. If you get them early in the ripening process, they’re a bit tart. Prime yellow is great. Brown? No problem. You can make it into banana bread. Face it, folks: you just can’t go wrong.
So keep your nasty little seed bombs and fingernail slicers to yourself. I’m going to go with the only really sensible choice. The banana.
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