Keeping the Banana Republic Alive

Rudy Giron: AntiguaDailyPhoto.com &emdash; Plantain Vendor Truck

One of the benefits of having a Banana Republic (not the clothing store, but the real thing!) is the tremendous amount of recipes available with plantains that became an integral part of the Guatemalan gastronomy.

Bananas, including plantains, are native to Africa. Yet it is the Central American republics, more specifically Guatemala the tiny third-world or is it poor-world country that is known as THE Banana Republic. And no, we are most definitely not talking about the middle-class clothing store; although Guatemala is now a Maquila Republic as well. What we are actually talking about is the Banana Republic created by UFCO and that Kyle called on to boycott. Yes we are talking about the United Fruit Company, now known as Chiquita Brands International, Inc. or Del Monte [who knows?] that created such a havoc and devastation in Guatemala that we are still recovering from its CIA operation PBSUCCESS.

But as with anything else in life, lots of delicious foods emerged from such a tragic history. Fried plantains [whole or sliced], rellenitos (fried plantain turn-over filled with sweet black beans sauce), atol de platano (plantain-based hot and thick drink) and even the wrappings of traditional Guatemalan tamal came from the banana trees. Man, I could on and on talking about bananas recipes and dishes in Guatemala like Bubba did in the Forest Gump film about shrimp.

Bubba: Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.

Enough said!

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