Love in the time of bananas

Little known fact: You can shine your shoes with the inside of a banana peel.

I didn’t believe it at first, either. But one day, my friend approached me with a dusty pair of black leather Oxfords and said, “Dude I want to wear these, but they really need a shine.”

I sensed an opportunity. “Do you have,” I said, as nonchalantly as I could, “a banana?”

To which he rightfully replied, “How does that have anything to do with what I just said?”

I told him about the hidden utility of a banana peel. He looked at me incredulously, unsure if my suggestion of rubbing raw fruit on a fairly valuable possession of his was a sincere attempt to help, or just a dig on his intelligence.

Long story short, he trusted me. And it worked. His shoes looked much better after a once-over with the banana peel and a dry paper towel. High-fives were exchanged.

Bananas are manna from heaven. They have so much to offer, but all too often their vast power goes untapped. Shining shoes aside, I find they make for particularly magical ingredients in milkshakes.

That’s why for this week’s dining hall challenge, I set out to make a banana milkshake. Check it out:

  1. Find a banana. This is deceivingly hard in the dining halls. They’re usually snatched up at breakfast, with few remaining by the time lunch rolls around. Getting a banana at dinnertime is akin to finding a four-leaf clover. So shoot for a midday milkshake.
  2. Peel the banana and, over a bowl, cut it into one-eighth-inch slices. Only use half of it if you’re making just one shake. Save the peel for shining your shoes.
  3. Put the banana in the microwave for 10 seconds. In case you haven’t noticed, there are no blenders in the dining halls, so you’re gonna have to hand-mash the nanners. The microwave helps soften them up a bit.
  4. Mash the warmed banana with a fork until it looks like baby food. The fewer chunks, the better.
  5. Add about three-quarters of a dining hall cupful of soft-serve ice cream to the bowl. (I used vanilla, but my girlfriend suggested using chocolate and I have reason to believe she’s on to something.)
  6. Stir like crazy. Everyone has different ideas for what the consistency of a milkshake should be, so add more ice cream if you want it thicker. Peanut butter serves as a tasty thickening agent as well.
  7. Now for the transfer to a cup, unless you plan on drinking from the bowl like a feral child. Tip the bowl partially toward your cup, but use a spoon to guide in the shake the rest of the way. The spoon is crucial. I tried doing without it at first and ended up feeding a sizeable portion of my shake to the table.
  8. Revel in your resourcefulness.

I realize this recipe seems a little rough. In fact, one of the guys next to me watching me make it frowned and said, “That looks disgusting.”

“Yeah,” his friend chimed in. “It looks like cottage cheese.”

Now, they both had a point. But this thing was delicious, and that’s what matters. Let the haters carry on with their plebian sustenance. Maybe even tell them to shine your shoes with a banana peel while they’re at it.

P.S. If you ever want to try one of these recipes, but don’t want to/don’t have the confidence to make it yourself, I’ll happily make you one in exchange for being swiped in. Cheers!