So, earlier this week I posted a recipe for Banoffee Pie to mark the two year blogiversary and was absolutely overwhelmed by the response. It turns out, many of you, like me, are old church ladies who like classic British desserts. Welcome, let’s be friends.
As I mentioned in that post, banana desserts have been a lifelong favourite of mine since I had my one and only experience with children’s penicillin.
Outside of that fateful tasting of penicillin, which only served to make me more ill than I already was after greedily gulping down that tropically delicious medicine, on account of being allergic, I’ve had other scarring experiences with the real deal.
When I was 13, I was on a family vacation with my parents in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Cabo, as it’s colloquially known, is renowned for its Spring Break debauchery and wet t-shirt contests.
Sidebar: I have subsequently returned to Cabo on a number of occasions, in my adulthood, and won a variety of contests, ranging from push-ups to lap dancing – but that’s a story for another time.
But, when I was 13, I was still pure and innocent. I had just had my braces removed and had recently discovered the power of a pair of tweezers in creating defined brows. Brows, plural, being the imperative word, because prior to that coming-of-age lesson, I was working with a singular BROW.
While luxuriating poolside, my parents and I befriended a gay couple and their 16-year-old son, Kyle. Well, as a freshly-minted, hormone-ridden teenager, Kyle smelled like fresh meat and I was prepared to wear out all three tricks in my book to win his affection – with my beaded vacation cornrows and all.
I think my attempts at flirtation were about as effective as trying to get a bank draft on a statutory holiday. Luckily, my parents manufactured plenty of face-time with Kyle by befriending his parents. Our families became fast friends. After a day of drinking and eating by the pool, we committed to going out for dinner together.
We had a beautiful dinner al fresco. Eating all the jumbo shrimp and fresh seafood on offer. Being 13, I didn’t have anything to drink but ate my fill, in spite of still being a relatively picky eater at the time.
Then, like now, I always saved room for dessert. I was delighted to see they had bananas flambée on offer, or as Kyle, the object of my affection called it, “Bananas flam-BEE.” Oh honey. What’s more, their take on the classic bananas foster was prepared tableside. Dinner AND a show!
We’re all transfixed as we watch the server set a plate of booze-covered bananas ablaze right before our eyes. Once the dish of caramelized bananas with vanilla ice cream was set in front of me, I briefly forgot about Kyle and only had eyes for that perfect confection.
Well, my affection went unreciprocated. Mere moments after slurping down the last spoonful of sugary goodness, it came back up. I had absolutely zero control over the reflex and puked everything back up, into the dish it had been served to me in.
Kyle and his dads were HORRIFIED. Obviously, this was just yet another step in an elaborate courtship dance I was doing to ensnare. Someone graciously lent me their cloth napkin to hide my bowlful of shame.
Unfortunately, that was just the first act. Minutes later I pulled back the curtain on my upchucked meal and made ANOTHER deposit. Kyle’s dad John squealed, “NO! Don’t uncover it, what are you doing?!” Only to watch me throw up the rest of my meal, filling the serving dish to the absolute brim – all the while, holding his napkin in front of his face, shaking it, like a cowardly matador.
When the waiter came to collect my dish, he’d probably never seen a plate of food returned QUITE that way. Sigh. It wasn’t my proudest moment.
Nevertheless, I was undeterred in my pursuit of teen dream Kyle. My dad and I got up at 5 a.m., my father boasting the honours of the time-worn tradition of a VICIOUS vacation hangover, and me, with my head hung low in shame, to join Kyle and his dads for a morning of deep sea fishing.
The deep sea fishing was a bit more successful than the dinner the night previous. We had a marlin on the line, who narrowly escaped our amateur angling, and bagged a number of giant squid.
Sadly, my performance as a would-be poster girl for Bass Pro Shops didn’t compel Kyle to fall hook, line, or sinker for me. I went the full week of vacation unkissed.
As I look back on it, mixed memories as they are, I like to sip on a tropical cocktail like this Chinese Fizz to really transport me to the white sands of Cabo. And no, this drink doesn’t involve any banana liqueur.
Dry shake all the ingreidents, then shake again with ice. Double strain into a fizz or highball glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish with the orange wedge and serve with a straw.
Add sugar and water to a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat. Stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature before using. Simple syrup will keep, refrigerated in an air-tight container, for up to two weeks.
Recipe adapted from: Kaplan, David, Nick Fauchald, and Alex Day. “Chinese Fizz.” Death & Co. Modern Classic Cocktails. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2014.