Journalism? Completed it, mate
It has very recently been brought to my attention that Queen Elizabeth II eats her bananas a certain type of way.
According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, the Queen eats a banana with a knife and fork(!).
The peculiarity doesn't end there, as his Eating Royally book divulges. The preparation method of Her Majesty's 'nana is even more of a flex than the act of eating it.
So in the name of journalism, I undertook this mammoth task both out of morbid curiosity and for the betterment of understanding Queen Elizabeth II's mindset as she consumes this potassium-rich fruit.
Join me on a voyage of self-discovery and cutlery-led fruit consumption.
Step 1: Cut off the top and bottom of the banana
Initially, I was going to cut the banana straight onto the countertop, but stopped myself because it felt like an un-Royal act. If Her Majesty can be on a stamp, her banana can certainly be cut on a chopping board.
I wasn't sure how much banana to take from each end, so allowed the will from within to guide me. Does the Queen eat the discarded pieces of 'banana end', I wondered as I put them into the recycling bin, heavy under the weight of blatantly wasting food, but determined to stay true to the method. Does the Queen watch with intent as her chef prepares a banana, I wondered as I began to hum the Bananas In Pyjamas theme song.
Step 2: Slice the banana lengthways
This kind of act is unnatural and goes against the beliefs of any sane man, woman or child. Unless you are preparing a banana split, there is no quantifiable reason to slice a banana lengthways. It is an absurd act and one I performed in total silence, with the blinds drawn and constantly looking over my shoulder.
"Were there any signs that the murderer was going to commit such an unspeakable act? Any hints that something bad was afoot?"
"Well, there was this one thing. It's probably insignificant, but I once saw him slicing a banana lengthways, as in from top to bottom"
*jury collectively gasp, person in the gallery throws up, corpse continues to decompose although slightly quicker than before*
It just felt wrong, basically.
Step 3: Remove the banana skin gently (gently is optional)
Finally, a normal sequence in this perturbing step-by-step process. Admittedly, the peel came off like a dream. Things felt right. The world, for a brief moment, turned a little slower than before. I felt free, like that sensation you get when a scissors glides through the wrapping paper at Christmas, or when your boss lets you leave 15 minutes early.
Then I thought about the moist layer of film the newly-sliced banana would leave behind on the chopping board. It clogged my brainwaves, trapping me in an endless loop of cursed images depicting banana glaze on a woody surface. I had to walk away for a moment to gather myself. I was reminded of what was at stake. I needed to do this for journalism.
Step 4: Chop the banana into small pieces
Evidently, I some fun with this step and that is because I am survivor. This method of banana preparation is overly flamboyant and it deserved a personal touch. If we dull our personalities, we run the risk of losing our true selves. I wasn't prepared to let that happen, not today.
I sliced the banana two different ways because I refuse to follow the rules set out by the monarchy. The instructions didn't stipulate the precise angle of the knife and I am a free spirit. I did what I had to do to feel alive.
Would Her Majesty chop a lengthways-sliced banana in straight lines or in jaunty triangles that are reminiscent of shark teeth? Neither. She does not slice her own banana. It is the dealer's choice and I have opted for chaos. If this is treason, I accept my sentence.
Step 5: Serve the banana with a fork
I tried to imagine how Queen Elizabeth II would prefer to have a pedantically-chopped banana served to her. Perhaps in a champagne flute or on a kebab skewer, I pondered, but ultimately settled on a floral plate given the limitations of my kitchen.
The presentation felt lifeless, but I persevered. The only instructions for the consumption of the banana was 'eat with a fork' and that in itself is sufficient. Anything beyond those four words fall under the category of artistic licence, but I still felt dissatisfied. Something was missing, I just couldn't figure out what it was. Is this truly how Her Majesty eats a 'nana?
Step 6: GO BACK AND PRESENT IT PROPERLY, FFS
I added a candle. I put a candle on the plate, shoving the segmented banana out of its path and exhibiting multiple telltale signs of insanity. Her Majesty just wouldn't just eat a banana off a plate, it's too sad. It's common. The banana deserves to be presented like the bountiful and nutrient-rich fruit that it is.
I realised that if anyone walking into the kitchen at this exact moment, it would've looked like I was constructing a birthday cake fit for a monkey, but that comforted me. Everyone has a birthday, even monkeys. The Queen knows that, perhaps she knows it more than most because she has to send every one in the country a letter for their 100th birthday and I assume that monkeys are no exception to this delightful treat.
Step 7: Consume & Debrief
I ate the banana and subsequently the candle by accident.
As my stomach began to go into convulsions due to the hot wax, I realised something. We are all cut from the same cloth, you, I and the Queen. Regardless of age, nationality, gender, social status or quantity of Range Rovers registered to your name, we all digest bananas the same way.
Queen Elizabeth II might eat her bananas with a knife and fork upon the finest crockery in the country, but it still goes in and out in the same way as the rest of us.
We're not so different, you and I. In fact, we are mostly the same.
Bananas are a blank canvas onto which you can project your appetite for life. Legally, no one can stop you from eating a banana with a fork. Not even Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Now go out there and live, champ.