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Solidarity for the banana flavor haters

Rebecca Firkser
June 28, 2018

Can we pretend that I have a megaphone for a sec? *Clears throat* Wake up, people! Nothing should be banana-flavored!

Honestly, folks. Banana-flavored foods need to be voted off the island, and by island I mean Earth. The flavor is pungent and cloying. It lingers on your tongue for so much longer than other artificial fruit flavoring. It has to go.

I like bananas. I bake with them, eat them with nut butter, and blend them into smoothies on a regular basis. But bananas proper and banana-flavored foods are two separate entities.

Let's back up for a sec. Banana flavoring comes from isoamyl acetate, a chemical found in all bananas. It’s that same strong flavor you’d get whether you’re crunching on a handful of Banana Runts or a spoonful of mashed overripe bananas about to become bread. There's a myth that the artificial banana flavor used today is more similar to the formerly ubiquitous banana, the Gros Michel. Most Gros Michel banana crops were destroyed by a fungus that hit worldwide in the 20th Century; when we buy bananas now they are the Cavendish variety. Though Cavendish and Gros Michel bananas are very similar in flavor, Cavendish doesn’t have as high a concentration of isoamyl acetate. This could be why I have such an adverse reaction to banana-flavor, but even so, it doesn’t make the flavor any less awful.

I will now enter into the record the most offensive banana-flavored foods.

Banana candy is bad. Be it Laffy Taffy, Hi-Chew, or the aforementioned Runts, I want nothing to do with it. Less than nothing, in fact. There are moments when we all just need to suck on a hunk on sugar, but why would you want to taint that experience with faux banana? Especially when candy flavors like raspberry and strawberry exist. Honestly, the mind boggles.

Ready-to-drink banana smoothies or strawberry-banana juices are not safe from my wrath. They are too sweet. They still taste disgusting. Get them out of here.

Have you seen banana liqueur popping up on the menus at respectable cocktail establishments too? I’m fully horrified. You can try to convince me that they’re not all artificially-flavored, and that real, ripe bananas were involved in its production, but I just can’t. Even with blended with other flavors in a drink. I still can’t rid my mouth of that highly concentrated isoamyl acetate.

When I was a kid there was always banana yogurt in my fridge. Technically it was called Banilla, a vanilla yogurt made by Stonyfield that is apparently blended not with banana flavor, but with banana puree. Do I believe the yogurt-makers? Sure. Does this yogurt still taste like banana flavoring? 100 percent. Admittedly, banana cream pie-flavored yogurt is certainly worse. Get that out of here, too!

Consider this my formal petition to ban banana-flavored foods. If an Anti-Banana-Flavored Foods Coalition does in fact already exist, and needs a spokesperson, please give me a shout.

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