It’s Food Story Friday and we have a great story for you from N.K. Phillips.
Bananas are easily available in most parts of the world. In rural Jamaica, we grow this exotic fruit faster than we can eat them, thus creating a dilemma for many homemakers – how to get rid of all these bananas. When she was still alive, my grandma frequently recounted the story of making banana fritters with us for the first time.
She was faced with the daunting task of getting rid of a huge bunch of bananas she’d gotten from our neighbor earlier in the week. Every conceivable method was used to get us to eat the fruit, but after day 5, my siblings and I had gone on a ‘Banana Protest’. We decided that we wouldn’t drink another banana smoothie or allow another slice of banana bread to pass our lips; ‘BananaGate 1987’ had begun. So Miss Eddie (that’s what everyone affectionately called our grandma) had to hatch up a new mode of attack.
On the 7th day of BananaGate 1987, she called my siblings and I to help her in the kitchen. We bounced happily to our duty but once we discovered that we were going to make another banana dish, our delight quickly turned into a mini riot. We were eventually placated with the promise of ice-cream after our tour of duty.
Grandma divvied up the tasks; my brother was the official Sugar Police, gathering and measuring of all the ingredients. My sister was the General Assembler and since I was the youngest, I was given the task of mashing the loathsome fruit using a potato masher. Miss Eddie placed the ingredients on the kitchen table.
While I crushed those 3 little bananas as if my life depended on it, my brother measured out all the dry ingredients and unceremoniously dumped them into my sister’s bowl. My sister slowly mixed the batch, her mind clearly fixated on the promise of ice-cream. Our grandma got the hot skillet going, placed a few paper towels on a plate and waited for us to finish our show of displeasure and discontent. She didn’t say a word. I think she secretly knew that once we tasted these little fritters, we’d be hooked. She’d let the fritters speak for themselves.
My brother took my bowl of banana mush, poured the milk on it, and also placed the mixture into my sister’s bowl. She barely did two revolutions with the spoon before handing her mixing bowl off to our grandma with a heavy sigh. Grandma did a thorough mix before dropping little spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil.
Soon, the glorious scent of banana, almonds and vanilla filled the room, magically lifting the funk that we were in. We inched closer towards the pot, inhaling a lungful of the sweet smell. I stood eagerly beside our grandma, sucking my thumb with my eyes firmly glued on the fritters as Grandma placed them on the paper towels to drain. When the batch was complete, she moved the dish of warm fritters closer to the edge of the kitchen counter and silently beckoned us to taste.
My brother took the first brave nibble, then began to gorge himself with the tasty treats. Soon, we all followed and the kitchen was filled with the sounds of happy children, greedily gorging themselves on warm banana fritters. Cries for more fritters were quickly answered and we all happily pitched in to make the second and the third batches. Ice-cream was no longer appealing, banana fritters were our #1 treat.
It was official, BananaGate 1987 was over.
Grandma’s Favorite Banana Fritters
3 ripe bananas
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk (any type will do)
6 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup oil for frying
1. Puree bananas.
2. Combine the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder and nutmeg – in a separate bowl.
3. Combine the wet ingredients by adding the milk, vanilla and almond extracts to the pureed bananas. Mix thoroughly.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
5. Heat oil in skillet to 325oF. Place spoon batter into the hot oil (as you would when making pancakes).
6. Cook for 4 – 5 minutes or until golden brown on each side.
7. Remove from skillet and drain on a bed of paper towels.
Serve to greedy little grandchildren with a glass of cold milk.
Food Story by N.K. Phillips