Banana Butter and Pickle Pie
As it often happens, my wife bought more bananas than she can eat during the week. She keeps expecting me to eat some, and while I do now and then, usually with peanut butter and bread, I don’t wander around thinking about bananas like I do kimchi and ramen. Now and then, when the leftover bunch is brown enough, she’ll make banana bread, and sometimes banana-nut bread when she has walnuts in the fridge. But mostly she adds the very-ripened fruit to her compost tumbler, or I throw them away when they start oozing a slime onto the countertop.
The other night, I went into the kitchen for a bowl of instant kimchi noodles, when I found a lone, nicely blackened banana on the counter. I checked, and it had not yet started slimming. So I decided to snack on a PB-B. I thought I could peel the banana, but while it was just north of ooze, it was still soggy enough that I couldn’t, so I spit it open in place, and discovered that, wow, it looks like a long dish of banana butter! I got a plain knife from the drawer, scooped the banana mush onto a slice of bread, carefully spread a hefty layer of peanut butter on the other slice and added a squeezing of honey, and man that was the best peanut butter and banana sandwich I’ve ever had!
So I thought, hey, why can’t I find banana butter at the store? I guess no one makes that? Maybe I should start a new product! I began thinking about how to make banana butter. It can’t have the same ingredients as banana bread. It has to be pure, right? And I can’t churn bananas. So I looked up how to preserve them—and found that there are lots of banana butters available!
There’s plain banana butter, and butter with every kind of nut, and with chocolate and oatmeal, a version called Flax Wag butter just for dogs, and something called banana cream pudding body butter. Yeah, I’m not trying that.
Well, I was miffed! Okay, so how about something completely different, like pickle pie? It can’t be the dill kind, but sweet, though not those little sweet pickles or shelf relish. I figured I could use my wife’s jars of Bread-n-Butter Pickles she made from the cucumbers in her garden. It would be a sort of sweet-tart kind of dessert, with a flaky, buttery crust. But do I add sugar and lemon juice and a pat of butter like in mom’s cherry pie recipe? Do I boil the sugary brine? I didn’t know, so I looked it up—and found that it was already invented! It’s the brainchild of chef Cula Ekker, who came up with the very popular dessert in a restaurant somewhere in Utah in the mid 60s. Well darn her!
I guess nothing is new. Somewhere, at some time, someone has tried everything. Still I wonder, has anyone invented sauerkraut cake? You know what? I’m not going to look it up. I’m also not going to try to make it. Egad!