For over a century, the banana has been the world’s favourite fruit. Quick and easy to eat, tasty and versatile, the banana is a staple of many diets around the globe. Its history, however, is more than simply a succession of happy family scenes and appealing exotic locations. The growth and development of the fruit we know and love today is entangled with colonial practices, capitalist enterprise, sexual politics and even horrific murders.
Banana: A Global History takes us from the agricultural beginnings of the banana in New Guinea to its almost ubiquitous presence in culinary repertoires around the globe, from the United States to the Caribbean, from regions of Africa to the heart of Southeast Asia. The book gives us an insight into the life of the banana over millennia, focusing on our recent history and its cultural affair with the fruit. The global life of the banana is traced in cultural practices, advertising, commercial schemes and the unmissable icons of popular culture, from nineteenth-century medical manuals to cookbooks, songs, the famous ‘banana peel gag’ and the well-known Miss Chiquita icon.
‘readers will find it hard to resist the author’s heady enthusiasm and curiosity for her topic and will be well rewarded at the end, where pages of enticing recipes await them.’ – Journal of Pacific History
Lorna Piatti-Farnell is Director of the Popular Culture Research Centre at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Her previous publications include Food and Culture in Contemporary American Fiction (2011) and Beef: A Global History (Reaktion, 2013).