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Rare Banana From Japan Comes With a Peel That's Meant to Be Eaten

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It’s easy to see how someone could take issue with banana peels: They’re a major source of waste, it takes effort to peel them, and they’re always making people slip and fall (at least in 1920s slapstick gags). If you agree that the banana’s conventional covering leaves room for improvement, check out this Japanese alternative. As SoraNews24 reports, the Mongee banana from D&T Farm features a tender skin you can bite straight into and eat.

The Japanese food company grows the special fruit in the country’s Okayama Prefecture. Instead of cultivating them in a tropical climate that’s typical for the plant, D&T Farm freezes their saplings at -76°F. The frozen trees are then thawed and planted, which prompts a burst of rapid growth. The process is meant to awaken an ancient survival mechanism banana trees used to make it through the Ice Age. Not only does this allow farmers to grow bananas faster and in cooler climates, it also makes for a thinner, softer banana skin.

Mongee bananas are more pungent and stickier than regular bananas, thanks to their higher sugar content. To eat one whole, you first must wait for brown dots to appear on the skin, which indicate that it’s ripe. According to tasters at SoraNews24, the flesh of the fruit has a tropical taste similar to pineapples, while the peel is pretty much flavorless and easy to chew. According to D&T Farm, people who consume the peel get bonus doses of vitamin B6 and magnesium.

The fruits are only available at one store in Japan, and even if you’re able to get there you’ll have to snag one of the 10 bananas that arrive at the shop each week and pay roughly $5.75 for it. Of course you can always settle for eating the skin on a regular banana, which may be bitter and fibrous but still offers all the same health benefits.

[h/t SoraNews24]

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Chefs Launch World's Highest Pop-Up Restaurant at Mt. Everest Base Camp
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A touch of altitude sickness shouldn't stand in the way of a good meal. At least that seems to be the idea behind a plan to serve a seven-course dinner to trekkers at Everest Base Camp, the gateway for those planning to climb Mt. Everest in Nepal.

The four chefs leading this trip hope it will land them a new Guinness World Record for the highest pop-up restaurant on the planet, according to Architectural Digest. At the end of May, the chefs will take 10 people on an eight-day trek from the town of Lukla (at an altitude of about 10,000 feet) to Everest Base Camp (at 11,600 feet), all while foraging along the way for ingredients that can be incorporated into the meal. (For a true luxury experience, guests also have the option of traveling by helicopter.) The full package of flights, accommodations, and meals costs about $5600 per person.

After reaching their destination, trekkers will get to sit back and enjoy a feast, which will be served inside a tent to protect diners against the harsh Himalayan winds. Indian chef Sanjay Thakur and others on his team say they want to highlight the importance of sustainability, and the money they raise will be donated to local charities. Thakur said most of the food will be cooked sous vide, which allows vacuum-packed food to be cooked in water over a long period of time.

"The biggest challenge, of course, will be the altitude, which will affect everything," Thakur tells Fine Dining Lovers. "Flavor [perception] will be decreased, so we will be designing a menu of extraordinary dishes accordingly, where spices will have the upper hand."

This isn't the first time an elaborate meal will be served at Everest Base Camp, though. According to Fine Dining Lovers, another chef launched a pop-up at the same spot in 2016, but it presumably wasn't registered with the Guinness Book of World Records. Other extreme restaurants include one carved into a limestone cliff in China, one dangling 16 feet above the ground in a rainforest in Thailand, and one submerged 16 feet below sea level in the Maldives.

[h/t Architectural Digest]

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Do You 'Procrastibake'? You're Not Alone
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The urge to put off tasks until the last minute is often accompanied by a nagging sense of guilt about not being productive. A new trend tackles both problems at once. It's called procrastibaking.

As The New York Times reports, procrastibaking, or throwing yourself into a baking project to distract yourself from an impending work deadline, is popular among students, telecommuters, and anyone else with access to an oven and who needs a creative outlet divorced from their actual work. Preparing a difficult recipe with many steps may feel like a chore when you're making it for someone else, but when you're baking for baking's sake, the process becomes meditative. Procrastibakers often choose the most complicated recipes they can find: More time in the kitchen means less time spent thinking about their term paper (or bar exam, freelance gig, tax filing, etc.).

According to Google Trends, interest in the term procrastibaking first spiked in April 2010. The word gained momentum on university campuses. A writer named Gabrielle reports in a 2012 blog post for the online law student community Survive Law that procrastibaking and legal education go hand in hand, "because if you’re going to spend time away from the books, you may as well have something cool (and edible) to show for it." In 2014, the linguistics department at Monash University posted a blog detailing the connections between the word and the student tradition of bringing baked goods to meetings.

Today procrastibaking appeals to expert time-wasters of all ages and occupations. There are currently 26,585 posts with the hashtag #procrastibaking on Instagram—check them out if you need some inspiration for ways to push off your next project.

[h/t The New York Times]

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