In the process of writing the story of the endless banana dessert, the Accidental Locavore found and ordered a banana slicer. Now this is something I normally would have scoffed at, but since I was writing about slicing bananas, it seemed like it might be something useful and amusing for the story.
I couldn’t find a way to work it into the text, so I thought some photos of it in action would add to the story.
However, I learned some interesting facts about banana slicers.
It’s curved, theoretically to fit the shape of a banana. Maybe you’re supposed to bring it with you to make sure the bananas are bent the same way as the slicer. Maybe bananas in China are shaped differently.
My banana wasn’t the same shape as the slicer. This led to some strategic thinking. Do I want the apex of the banana to match the apex of the device? Or, do I want the ends to be perfectly sliced?
Finally going with the curve, I bore down on the slicer.
Applying weight did cut the banana. It also left mushed banana on the bottom of my cutting board and the fruit in question.
Since there was crushed banana on the bottom of the “slicer”, it had to be flipped over and the pieces had to be pushed through individually. Not a pretty sight.
I was finally left with not-very-clean slices of banana (and for the record, this was a fairly firm banana) and a banana slicer that had lots of little sections to be cleaned.
Since you can almost slice a banana with a bread knife, it stands to reason that any sharp knife will make quick work of a banana, not need alignment, make better slices and be a quicker clean up.
I went out and bought a couple more bananas and did a time trial. All times start with peeled bananas, and include slicing and cleaning of utensils.
Banana slicer total time: 54 seconds (plus another 5 or so to reclean a couple of stray pieces). Disclosure: I allotted the straighter banana to the slicer.
Knife total time: 40 seconds (and I wasn’t speed-cutting a la Jacques Pepin).
My verdict: Of all the ridiculous single-use kitchen items, this has got to be the most useless thing ever to hit my kitchen! Luckily, it wasn’t a splurge. From some Internet site, shipping included, it was less than $5. If, for some reason, you’d like to try it for yourself, let me know in the comments. I’m happy to send it to a good home. And if you think you have a more worthless kitchen utensil, please let everyone know!