10 Apr: Yes, We Have Bananas

Bananas, the world’s favourite fruit, were first displayed in London on 10th April, 1633, in the shop window of botanist Thomas Johnson, editor for Gerard’s Herball.

Despite societal taboos surrounding the banana’s suggestive shape, its journey from obscurity to ubiquity was later propelled by Minor Cooper Keith, whose entrepreneurial endeavours in Costa Rica transformed the fruit into a global commodity – albeit one entangled in the power struggles and exploitation of Central America, earning the term “Banana Republic.”

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal why banana-flavoured sweets DO taste like bananas; examine how English horticulturalists forever stamped their mark on this tropical fruit; and consider whether the fruit Eve reached for in the Garden of Eden was actually a banana…

Further Reading:

• ‘How the Banana Came To Be—And How It Could Disappear’ (Lithub, 2023): https://lithub.com/how-the-banana-came-to-be-and-how-it-could-disappear/

• ‘Mystery of the Tudor banana’ (The Guardian, 1999): https://www.theguardian.com/uk/1999/jun/16/maevkennedy

• ‘Who Was The Man Behind The Banana Republics Of Central America?’ (Timeline, 2024):