Honeydew is trash too
Credit: Photo by Christoph Hetzmannseder via Getty Images

There’s a heinous food crime happening all across America—and no, I’m not talking about avocado assault or incorrectly frozen bananas, although this atrocity does have to do with bananas. I’m talking about the absolute insanity of thinking it’s OK to use bananas in a fruit salad, as if this world we live in isn’t messed up enough already.

The thing is, sure, you can technically put any fruit into a fruit salad. Just like a DJ can technically play any music at a dance party—does that mean he should put on Elliott Smith? There’s even a saying about this that applies specifically to fruit salad: “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” That can be applied to so, so many more fruits than just tomatoes. Let’s start with bananas.

I don’t care whether you like the flavor of bananas. That’s neither here nor there. Just like the fact that Elliott Smith has perfectly good music, which doesn’t matter whatsoever when all the 16-year-olds at the high school dance are crying about how hard it is to be alive as “Between the Bars” blasts in the cafeteria-turned-dance-hall. It’s not about whether his music is good or not, it’s about the feeling. For bananas, the texture. Like, c’mon, they clearly have a different texture than all the other fruits you’d probably add to your salad. If you want your fruit salad to be soggy and covered with a thin layer of slime, you probably want your school dances to be sad, so this argument is lost on you. But for those who prefer their fruit salad fresh and untainted by banana-gunk, there’s hope for you still.

Leave out the bananas. Just stop it. Bananas are so delightful and absolutely irreplaceable in various other treats—like peanut-butter banana toast, or a refreshing, filling smoothie right after the gym. But for fruit salad, you have so many other options, with textures that complement this fruit dance party and flavors that keep the fun going. Just leave out the tomatoes, which you already knew, and leave out the bananas, which you should do from now until the end of time, if you want anyone to actually enjoy your fruit salad.

And, OK, there are a few others you should steer clear of, and these may be even more controversial, but I’m gonna hammer it home anyway: stop putting honeydew and cantaloupe into fruit salad. They’re both sad, boring disappointments, and you’re better than that.

We’ve all experienced the packaged fruit salad that comes with dull, unavoidable life moments: airports, badly catered work events, and Aunt Martha’s “recipe” that she clearly bought at Walmart half an hour before showing up. And, unless you’re a serial killer with no taste-buds, you’ve likely experienced the profound disappointment that comes with a fruit salad chock-full of honeydew and cantaloupe with half a handful of blueberries and grapes thrown in—maybe a strawberry or two, if you’re lucky.

I’m here to say that it doesn’t have to be this way.

I want to reiterate that cantaloupe and honeydew are like, fine, I guess. It’s OK if you like the taste of them. And this time, it’s not about the texture—it’s about the sheer quantity, which I just can’t wrap my brain around. Sure, both honeydew and cantaloupe are large melons, so maybe folks cut up the whole melon and are like, “What do I do with all this? Might as well dump it ALL IN, I guess.” But then again, this problem isn’t as omnipresent as it is with watermelon, and watermelons are much larger, so what gives? Maybe because it’s easier to say, “I’ll just eat this leftover watermelon,” because it’s actually tasty and good? Who’s to say?

Plus, when you make the majority of a fruit salad with one or two kinds of fruits, you’re making the entire salad taste that way. That blueberry is now a honeydew. That strawberry is now a cantaloupe. This is a grave crime in itself. Let blueberries be blueberries and strawberries be strawberries. Stop smothering their identity with your garbage fruit.

Listen to Elliott Smith on your own time. But when you’re having a dance party? Think about the mood, folks. Think about the mood.