Friday, July 13, 2012

Several Things You Cannot Dispute

Once upon a time we caught a production of A Year with Frog and Toad, a musical based on the children's books written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel, the same genius behind Mouse Soup. Thank goodness for children. Where would we be without these stories?

The production, in fact the inaugural production of the Chicago Children's Theater, was really magnificent. We returned home with the CD (the writers of the musical, brothers Robert (music) and Willie Reale (lyrics) won the Tony in 2003 for Best Original Score) and some of those songs still dance in my head.

In Act I, Snail, the show's only character with a job, sings a lovely tune about delivering a letter. "I'm the snail with the mail, I deliver without fail..." This is a tough act to follow, but the brothers Reale pulled one outta a hat with Getta Loada Toad, which concerns Toad's anxiety about being seen in his bathing suit and counts among its stanzas this gem:

"Four things you cannot dispute:
Bamboo comes from a bamboo shoot
Rutabaga comes from a rutabaga root
Bananas are the funniest fruit
And Toad looks funny in a bathing suit!"

Aside from all the catchy rhyming, I really appreciate the simple observation of the banana as funniest fruit. Bananas have a silly name, a silly shape, and that whole shtick with the slippery peel. In fairness, the banana is also the most dependable fruit. It's good on an empty stomach, more satisfying than a Snickers, and folks who find themselves exhausted from gnawing away at beef jerky and protein bars must certainly appreciate - when consuming a banana - mastication without temporomandibular dislocation.

But the banana flavor is a different story. What happens inside the peel needs to stay inside. When I was a kid I had to take banana-flavored medicine for asthma (sucks to that banana-flavored asthma medicine) and I still harbor mistrust of pharmaceuticals. A fifth indisputable fact: a single banana Runt can spoil a perfectly good day. Or, put to music:

...Bananas are the funniest fruit
But a banana Runt will make you boot.

And this brings us to Smarties, my second-favorite non-chocolate candy. We had a boat-load Smarties leftover from assorted parties and I have one roll left in my secret stash. One of my favorite things about Smarties is that there's not a gross flavor. Just now I opened a roll and there were a whole bunch of yellows which, in the case of many other candies, would be a grave disappointment. I know, usually yellow = lemon. But Laffy Taffy, Runts, and Now and Later have each slipped their nasty banana candies onto the market and now I get nervous every time I see yellow in a candy wrapper.

That's all.


Amy K said...

Katie, I defer to you on all things food-related. However. On this one, I am afraid you are mistaken. Watermelon takes the prize as the vilest faux flavoring. I would eat a wheelbarrow full of banana Runts before I would chew a piece of watermelon gum. Gross.

Katie Fairbank said...

Amy! I routinely nosh on Trident watermelon gum (the xylitol one) and am a superfan of the watermelon Now and Later. And isn't there a watermelon Jolly Rancher. At least you and I can trade. Don't be alarmed to find a baggie of banana Runts in your mailbox one day. This reminds me of when my friend made my scone recipe for herself on her birthday, which is Halloween. They came out so well that she brought me a few, only I wasn't home to take delivery, so she left them in my mailbox in a paper lunch bag. Since it was Halloween I was terrified to find a bag of anything near my front door, and to this day I do not know how I summoned the courage to peek in. I'll put the banana Runts in a ziploc to save you the same anxiety. Cheers.