Archive for the ‘recipes’ category

[Recipe] Banana Flank Steak

October 16, 2007

Last time around, we unpacked the cultural biases and historical context that enveloped the Tempting Banana Recipes leaflet. Like political regimes, prevailing tastes (in the oral sense of the word, specifically) seem to change across time. Forget about “tempting”; a few of these recipes sounds downright offensive to the modern palette.

As the first entry in the Outmoded Recipes section, DustBubble will tackle an especially foul sounding concoction–Banana Flank Steak–to see if indeed it is as disgusting as it sounds, or rather if somewhere along the line it became taboo to mix bananas and beef…

The ingredients:

Tropical Stuffing :

1. Dice (4) bananas and chop (1/2) medium onion

2. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl

3. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and set aside

Flank Steak :

1. Stack (2) 1 lb. flank steaks

2. Using a toothpick attached to a string, sew the two slabs together, leaving an opening at one end for stuffing

at this stage, your flank steak should resemble an oven mit…

3. Liberally fill the meat pocket with tropical stuffing, and sew the end closed, creating a pillow of meat

4. Season both sides and brown in a heavy skillet

5. Transfer to a covered pot with 1/2 cup water in the bottom and cook for 2 hours in a 300 degree oven, flipping the meat after 1 hour

6. Cut and serve

Review :

If you can trick yourself into thinking of the tastes as simply “sweet” and “savory” rather than distinct flavors, this dish is surprisingly stomachable. The string will be difficult to remove–it may be easier just to eat. The stuffing will expand during cooking, creating a perfect ratio of meat-to-banana in each bite. The meat will keep in the refrigerator for quite a few days, making for reliable leftovers. Best served with a cheap white wine.

  • Anticipated Subjective Taste Rating :3.7
  • Actual Subjective Taste Rating : 6.7


[Blind Box] #8 Tempting Banana Recipes

October 12, 2007

Could this innocent recipe pamphlet actually be a piece of anti-Communist propaganda?…

…well, not entirely, but it was created within an American culture rife with anti-Communist sentiments. And bananas–those tasty Central American delights–were not without political import. Let’s peel back the layers…

According to the United Fruit Company Historical Society (that this exists hints the scope this company once had),

Between 1955 and 1962 United Fruit published around 15 million pieces of literature for [American] students in elementary grades through high school to promote the learning of bananas and the health benefits of their consumption…

While it is difficult to be certain that the pamphlet in question was created for schools, we will assume this to be so for the sake of the argument. Even if it wasn’t, the overarching principles still apply.

So what happens when a major corporation is allowed to “promote the learning” of their keystone product in schools? Naturally, their primary objective, however veiled, will be to condition young consumers. We need to go no further than the first two words of the “About Bananas” section to appreciate this point: Buy bananas. The shrewd minds behind this flyer also offer additional free banana recipes by post to any interested parties, knowing full well that implicit in the offer is the guarantee that its recipient will be buying more [Chiquita] bananas. Of course, there are some informative bits interspersed between these bookends.

So where, then, does Communism enter? We travel now to the Guatemala, arguably United Fruit’s most important banana republic, where just three years prior, then President Jacobo Arbenz instituted the Agrarian Reform Act (1953) that redistributed vast quantities of fruit plots to landless peasants. Back in the US, this came to be understood as Guatemala spreading its “Marxist tentacles” throughout Central America.

A year later, Guatemalan dissidents staged a coup, backed by the United State, overthrowing Arbenz. The story grows more complex from here, but in essence, United Fruit–ruthless Captialists at home, with alleged Communist bedfellows abroad–lost the favor of the American government, and shortly after began their decline. All this, over a piece of fruit.

One question remains: are these recipes really tempting? Banana scallops, banana and shrimp curry, banana flank steak?!

Stay tuned to find out.