Better than pancakes, fritters have hardly any nutritional value, not sustainable for our bodies. But great for our souls. I’ve loved making fritters for my family, usually on weekends for my sisters who woke slightly after me knowing I would begin to prepare the batter before they’d even brush their teeth or wipe their groggy eyes. I was fascinated with cooking for myself because I learned little by little how my parents took the initiative to immigrate from the US Virgin Islands and attend college by themselves with hardly any help and make a modest living. I felt a push from to educate myself on handling my own needs which my parents endorsed fully (to get me to do work intrinsically and free them of some responsibilities). In a coat closet, I dug up an old and pristine cookbook from St. Croix and in it I picked, arguably, the greatest dish on the planet, banana fritters, which smell I can recall at any moment, because my Grandmother always cooks a large batch for us during her visits. In my pursuit of finding an infrastructure or system outside of the automotive industry that could use new innovation that solves the issues outlined by sustainability in its accepted definition, the recipe I chose had a bit of room to maneuver the ingredients and find more sustainable alternatives. Nearly immediately upon using Marta, public transit, walking, and biking I discovered that travelling the city to purchase food, local and fresh almost impossible, was extremely inconvenient and/or difficult in the round trip taken to gather the groceries if such a market existed nearby. Our visit to Publix highlighted how unsustainable the options at Publix based on price, transportation, and healthwise. To get access one would have to reach a farmers’ market one certain days in order to buy local produce, which may take a very roundabout journey plagued with troubles and hurdles to clear for the simple necessity of procuring healthy foods.
My fritter recipe calls for nothing sustainably sourced or healthy, I mean they’re fritters, come on! But, with a little research, I was able to find alternatives, some unconventional, that improve the health aspect of the dish and lessened the processes in the production of ingredients in the dish. By replacing the regular bleached enriched flour, I could substitute it for buckwheat, spelt, almond, whole wheat flour, or even finely grinded oats. Choose cane sugar as the healthy option and goes through less processes to get to the shelf though it is imported from outside of the state. Replace the egg with applesauce as it is a popular oil/coagulate substitute, though I’ve never (or ever will) tried the switch. No replacement for baking powder as therecommneded change the taste of the dish overall. I would use sea salt as it has takes less processes to produce than the iodizing of sea salt. There is no sane alternative to bananas without changing on of the main appeals of the dish that is not some artificial concoction. Sadly, Georgia does not grow its bananas, it only imports the prettiest for American consumption as I have seen in a VICE special in South America where waste is extreme as nature does not always meet first world beauty standards. Lastly, replacing the vanilla extract with the maple syrup used for enjoying the fritters themselves in the end could be used to flavor the batter beforehand as well, knocking off a whole ingredient and the carbon footprint behind it off the list..
This list has dropped a lot of carbon emission weight, but it will backtrack if I attempted to buy these alternatives from various stores and markets which are not within the area. This is not feasible for most living anywhere in the South without a car. I am enjoying life without the need for driving a car, it’s different and feels natural to me, much like social activist author bell hooks, who wrote Belonging: A Culture of Place. In the book, hooks describes an idea and desire I chased (and still do) since I was young: “What we had learned in the hills was how to be self-reliant” (hooks 8). Knowing that I badly wanted this for myself and had an intrinsic need to help others, though unbeknownst to me at the time, I became knowledgeable in sustaining myself to then help other, because I knew now one other than myself was going to fulfill these dreams for me in the same sense that I see now as hooks explained the government did not care for the well being of the black population. This fact took time to accept I tried many sources and rhetoric to disprove, but I ultimately failed. However, there are certainly great characters with pure intentions for the equity of unempowered groups in America doing important work outside an office. While hooks calls people to follow their souls, my souls sends me here to the city where people need help and are here for opportunity because not everyone found success in the rural South hence early gentrification in the sixties. My appended recipe tells the story of individuals trapped in a system designed to benefit off the non-wealthy, for it takes effort and time I couldn’t take unless I dedicated a day to the endeavor and it went off without a hitch, an impossible proposition for those who work day in day out and still require services and assistance in the end. Growing up in Kentucky allowed hooks to feel welcomed by the her home to live within her desired means economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable; whereas I left the city and returned for school to see it is even less sustainable in every right. What am I do? I aim to continue this journey and discover a method for helping people in need. Food has put a great strain on humanity since our origins. It connects all folks, especially myself, to our past and sense of belonging. Therefore, nourishment requires a sustainable solution and this recipe challenge has proved finding an answer is not impossible, but it will be extremely difficult to agree on and implement. And that is what makes banana fritters the greatest dish ever conceived.
- 6 bananas
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 cup white flour
- 1/2 cup water
- 6 bananas
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 1/2 teaspoons organic maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup wheat flour
- 1/2 cup water
hooks, bell. Belonging: A Culture of Place. 1990, Routledge, New York.
Unknown administrator, “Ripe Banana Fritters.” Taste the Islands. Blondie Ras Productions, Inc, 2016. https://tastetheislandstv.com/ripe-banana-fritters/.
Cruzan Contessa. “Banana Fritters Frying.” St. Croix U.S. Virgin Islands: Frying Banana Fritters With The Crucian Contessa. Uncommon Caribbean, 2015. https://www.uncommoncaribbean.com/st-croix/frying-banana-fritters-with-the-crucian-contessa/.
Kirchner, Audrey. “DSC_0018 measure applesauce.” Pictorial how to make cinnamon scones. Read more about it and get the recipe. Flickr, 2012. https://www.flickr.com/photos/audreykirchner/8006844875/in/photostream/.