While cutting his way through India, Alexander the Great paused to note that in India bananas were the fruit of the wise man. According to a new report commissioned by the UN Committee on World Food Security, Alexander was perceptive. For as the climate warms, rice and wheat will become scarce. In their stead, the scientists say, the smart money is on bananas.
It would be a shame to wave goodbye to bread and rice, but the 'nana and its near cousin the plantain, both actually perennial herbs, provide consolations. Cyrus Todiwala says their leaves are a fine thing to cook fish in. While the plant's flower is familiar in Vietnamese banana blossom salads. The plantain's centre is also, according to Levi Roots, pretty handy as a stuffing, or for deep frying. But Fanny Craddock suggests you roll them in nuts and jam, stand them in a pineapple ring and place a glacé cherry on the end – wisdom indeed.