Banana boats / Barcos de plátano

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I RETURNED TO THE PODIATRIST, José, Monday afternoon. I love technology. I was surprised to learn how unevenly I walk. Most of the pressure of my steps land at the center of my left heel, as you can see from the red area in the first image below. José then showed me where that pressure goes. Surprise. Surprise. Directly to my left hip. My sciatica. My left knee gets twisted with each step, as I saw from the stop-action video. And, not surprisingly, that’s also where I sometimes have twinges of pain (I hadn’t mentioned those). José introduced me to his physiotherapist, Susana, and I’m going to see her next week to see what she can do to more quickly address the sciatica.

I wear a size 46 shoe (size 11 in the USA) so, given my height, I don’t have unusually large feet. And they’re nicely proportioned, too. San Geraldo on the other hand (other foot?) does have unusually large feet. He wears a size 48 (14 in the USA). His feet are wide and his arches are far forward, so it’s very difficult for him to find shoes that fit well (if he can even find his size in the first place). The only reason I mention San Geraldo’s feet is because he baked banana bread Monday evening. And that made me think of banana boats, which he has and I do not.

Banana-boat feet made me think of the ice cream parlour, Emack and Bolios, I used to visit on Newbury Street in Boston. They had what they called a banana barge (as opposed to a simple banana split). The photo at top is the only one I could find; it doesn’t do it justice. It was enough to share with a couple of friends. I didn’t share. And thinking of Emack and Bolio in Boston reminded me of my childhood after we moved to Brooklyn.

Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor (and restaurant) on Nostrand Avenue had the best ice cream creations. My Mother the Dowager Duchess could have survived on ice cream alone. When she was dieting, if she did well in the first half of the day, she rewarded herself with a bowl of ice cream for lunch. When she wasn’t in the mood to cook, we had waffles and ice cream for dinner. It was the one thing she never limited. So, we would go to Jahn’s (not for the food, but for the ice cream) and I would order something from the menu that was described as being for two or even three people. And I wouldn’t share.

I always wanted to order “The Kitchen Sink,” whose ingredients were “everything but.” Once, when I was around 18, I went with a group of friends and finally ordered it. The Kitchen Sink was supposed to serve up to 6 people, although one waiter had suggested 8. Four of us shared. I ate half. I distinctly remember one friend, Bruce, saying he didn’t want nuts and I announced to the hardboiled waitress that I would eat his.

All this talk of bananas, reminded me of my banana drawings done with pen & ink and watercolour markers in May 1980 at my friend Mary’s apartment on Charles Street in Boston.

This stroll down Memory Lane is sponsored by José and the Centro Podólogo Fuengirola.


REGRESÉ AL PODÓLOGO, JOSÉ, EL lunes por la tarde. Amo la tecnología. Me sorprendió saber lo desigual que camino. La mayor parte de la presión de mis pasos aterriza en el centro de mi talón izquierdo, como puede ver en el área roja en la primera imagen a continuación. José luego me mostró a dónde va esa presión. Sorpresa. Sorpresa. Directamente a mi cadera izquierda. Mi ciática. Mi rodilla izquierda se tuerce con cada paso, como vi en el video de stop-action. Y, como era de esperar, ahí es también donde a veces tengo punzadas de dolor (no las había mencionado). José me presentó a su fisioterapeuta, Susana, y yo la veremos la semana que viene para ver qué puede hacer para abordar más rápidamente el dolor ciático.

Llevo un zapato de la talla 46 (talla 11 en los EE. UU.), Así que, dada mi altura, no tengo pies inusualmente grandes. Y también están bien proporcionados. San Geraldo por otro lado (¿otro pie?) Tiene pies inusualmente grandes. Lleva una talla 48 (14 en EE. UU.). Sus pies son anchos y sus arcos están muy hacia adelante, por lo que es muy difícil para él encontrar zapatos que le queden bien (si es que puede encontrar su talla en primer lugar). La única razón por la que menciono los pies de San Geraldo es porque horneó pan de plátano el lunes por la noche. Y eso me hizo pensar en los barcos de plátano, que él tiene y yo no.

Los pies de un barco de plátano me hicieron pensar en la heladería, Emack y Bolios, que solía visitar en Newbury Street en Boston. Tenían lo que llamaron una banana barge [barcaza banana]. La foto de arriba es la única que pude encontrar; no le hace justicia. Fue suficiente para compartir con un par de amigos. No lo compartí. Y pensar en Emack y Bolio en Boston me recordó mi infancia después de mudarnos a Brooklyn.

La heladería (y restaurante) Jahn’s tenía las mejores creaciones de helados. Mi Madre La Duquesa Viuda podría haber sobrevivido solo con helado. Cuando estaba a dieta, si la iba bien en la primera mitad del día, se recompensaba con un tazón de helado para el almuerzo. Cuando ella no estaba de humor para cocinar, cenamos gofres y helado. Era lo único que nunca limitó. Entonces, íbamos a Jahn’s (no por la comida, sino por el helado) y yo pedía algo del menú que se describía como para dos o incluso tres personas. Y no lo compartiría.

Siempre quise pedir “The Kitchen Sink” [el fregadero de la cocina], cuyos ingredientes eran “todo menos”. Una vez, cuando tenía alrededor de 18 años, fui con un grupo de amigos y finalmente lo pedí. Se suponía que el fregadero de la cocina serviría hasta 6 personas, aunque un camarero había sugerido 8. Cuatro de nosotros compartimos. Me comí la mitad. Recuerdo claramente a un amigo, Bruce, diciendo que no quería nueces y le anuncié a la camarera que me comería las suyas.

Toda esta charla sobre los plátanos me recordó a mis dibujos de plátanos hechos con boli y marcadores de acuarela en mayo de 1980 en el piso de mi amiga Mary en Charles Street en Boston.

Este paseo por El Mundo del Recuerdo está patrocinado por José y el Centro Podólogo Fuengirola.

My left foot. Notice the improvement?
Mi pie izquierdo. ¿Notas la mejora?

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

54 thoughts on “Banana boats / Barcos de plátano”

  1. Time for some gait training, you are going to learn to walk. It is amazing what little changes can make a difference. There was a chain restaurant in the mid-west that served something called the trough, as in pig trough- kind of like your kitchen sink.

    1. David:
      And YOU certainly have experience with gait training! It’s amazing how much I used to eat. I weighed all of 27 pounds! I have no idea where it went.

  2. That’s a wild thing, that method they have for seeing how you walk. I bet you aren’t the only one of us who needs a re-training on the walking thing.

    1. Judy C:
      I love technology like that. I had a blast. AND I got to walk uphill on a treadmill at a really good pace. Haven’t done that in ages. Admittedly, it’s a lot more fun being outside, but still it was a fun change. Also, knowing my pace on the treadmill. He told me to get up to my normal walking speed without pushing the limit. I did so. My normal fast, easy pace and it was still over 4 miles an hour. That was a nice surprise.

  3. Love those menu offerings Mitch. I wonder if peeps would actually consume that much ice cream etc without bringing it all back up nowadays. I love ice cream but there is a limit for me at least. I suspect your physio will have you walking perfectly very soon. Walking is your primary exercise so getting your legs back doing the right thing is major. Love your banana drawing ~ I understand your thoughts about getting lost in your own world. I am waiting for you to dive in and re-emerge ~ go on dive in!

    1. Ron:
      I know I couldn’t do it anymore! I need to plant your voice in my head, so I can flip the switch regularly and hear you say, Go on and dive in!

  4. Seems you are on a good track for relief of the pain. Good luck and be a good patient!
    I remember my best friend and I would go downtown and on a weekly basis to buy and devour our banana splits….for 50 cents!! If they had larger ones I am sure we could have handled those too!
    Your Mom knew what she liked…..and she lived a good long life in spite of all the ice-cream.

    1. Jim:
      I’m very hopeful. The previous physiotherapist focused on acupuncture and I don’t know if it actually helped or if it was just the usual matter of the sciatica playing itself out again. I liked him, but love having the podiatrist and physio in one place, in a very nice facility. My mother and ice cream was very entertaining. When Haagen Dazs appeared on the scene, she would buy us each our own personal pints and label them — because she didn’t want anyone touching hers!

  5. Bony foot photo: I’ve heard of “rings on her fingers and bells on her toes” but never springs and screws. No wonder they hurt.
    Actually, good to be able to “see” the mechanics of your gait so they can pin down a PT plan that will, hopefully, alleviate the sciatic pain. Guessing the pain near the knee is from the illiotibial band that runs down the lateral portion of your thigh–it seems to often play a duel role along with sciatica pain. Hope their plan for you gives you relief.

    As for banana boats, the ice cream emporium around WDC used to be Farrell’s (long gone). Very old timey–staff wore what were basically costumes. Think Farrell’s was a franchise around the country and had different names of their specialty sundaes dependent upon the location. Two servers would carry out the largest sundaes (as you described) on a special tray cart with long handles that went across their shoulders. Probably close to 40 years since I’ve been in an ice cream parlor.

    1. Mary, I remember Farrell’s! I loved that joint! I remember one particular night, my youngest sister and I went to one after seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark. We ordered the Trough and asked the staff not to sing the song if we each polished off one. It was a banana split and a half if I recall correctly. We each finished one apiece. Sure enough we got a loud chorus of “Oink, oink, sooey, sooey, What a pig you are!” We were under the table with laughing so hard! Good times.
      I think that giant sundae with the handles was called The Zoo.

      1. Deedles and Mary:
        And now I want to find a Farrell’s whenever I might get back to the States next. I can’t believe they sang that. Sure wouldn’t get away with it now.

      2. Farrells is no longer around to my knowledge. The last one closed about two years ago….and they were indeed still singing that song Deedles speaks of. A friend was in one three years ago and I remember him saying they sang that to someone.

      3. Mistress Maddie:
        Such a shame. It would have been something for me to look forward to stateside. Then again, we have dozens of ice cream parlours around town now. I hope they survive this mess.

    2. Mary:
      Our friend Judy has screws in her ankle that are actually now visible under the skin! And, yes, it IS the illiotibial band. You’re so clever. I worked in Medical Illustration as a graphic artist (not degreed medical illustrator). I was going to say, as a joke to connect with your years without an ice cream parlor, 40-some-odd years ago. Then I thought about it and realized it WAS 40-some-odd years ago! Studied and studied the anatomy colouring book. I loved it and really knew my body parts. Hardly remember anything now. I’ve never heard of Farrell’s. I remember that kitchen sink being rolled out. Paradise!

      1. Fortunate that my ankle repair did not require hardware, but it took a bloody long time to heal. I feel for Judy.

        If the ITB is particularly bothersome around your knee, you might try a knee strap (brace) that can usually be purchased over-the-counter at pharmacies (not sure about where in Spain) or online (usually around $10-20). They come in one or two strap (velcro) designs. One strap brace fits just below the knee cap. The two strap brace fits around the knee cap–so one strap goes around the top of the knee cap and the other just below it. I have one of the latter design. Don’t use it all that often, but it does take the pressure off and reduces pain when my ITB acts up. I have hypermobility (EDS) so I’ve plenty of experience with joints, tendons and ligaments acting up. Too flexible for my own good.

      2. Mary:
        Yeah, the seriously broken ankle changed Judy’s life. She muscled through it with rehab and exercise but it took years and she’s never recovered completely from that. My knee isn’t a problem really, which is why I didn’t even mention it to the podiatrist. I’ll just suddenly get a twinge when I’m walking as if I torqued it a bit, which is what it turns out I’m doing! I simply ease up a bit and it’s fine again. Your ITB explains your expertise in this area. Sorry you have to deal with that!

  6. 15 cent cokes! personally, I like vanilla malts.
    and how many boyz have clicked your bananas? I’ll take a slice of banana bread wit a schmear.
    OMG, jose wears crocs; maddie will be verklempt!

      1. Mistress Maddie:
        Oh, I knew if you saw that photo, you’d lose it. He really is a great guy and seems to know his stuff. Crocs are practical in a place like that. Easy to slip in and out of. Easy to disinfect. Available in colors to coordinate with any outfit.

      2. Mistress Maddie:
        Have you ever tried a pair? (of Crocs! get your mind out of the gutter) They’re so comfortable. Actually I’d love to be there with a camera as you slipped your foot inside. THAT would be a blog post.

    1. anne marie:
      Our big “date” when we were in our early teens was to go across the street to the “coffee shop” (I don’t even know if it actually had a name). we’d sit at the soda fountain and have cokes. I was a big spender. Coke was 10 cents but I would order CHERRY cokes (with cherry syrup) for 15 cents!

      I used to love SG’s banana bread with cream cheese or even butter. Now I have it either plain or with peanut butter because, believe it or not, we are much lower cal and higher protein around here nowadays.

      And, yes, I knew you’d notice the crocs! His physical therapist had them, too. I guess they’re practical in that environment. Anyway, they were still both very nice people. I hope Maddy doesn’t hold it against them.

  7. My one thought, between shoes, feet and bananas, is that I hope the banana bread doesn’t taste like feet.

    Sheesh, they can retrain you to walk, but can they retrain my brain not to go off on a tangent?

    1. Bob:
      Tangent? I don’t have that problem myself. I don’t know why but I was just thinking it’s too bad tangerines are out of season. They’re so good. And speaking of seasons and good, we just finished Season 3 of Good Girls. SG’s god-daughter used to perform with a singing group called The Girls. REALLY good!

  8. A most effective display of stream of consciousness technique, also quite entertaining. PS: white crocks??? I at least hope they don’t wear them after Labor Day.

    1. wickedhamster:
      That’s just how my brain works… One big stream of something.

      And there it is. We can tell where YOU grew up. White after Labor Day is permitted here — and before Memorial Day (of course Spaniards usually have no idea when either of those USA holidays are). When we moved to Southern California we had local friends who thought that Norheast rule was nuts. It took my years, though, to stop observing it.

    1. Debra:
      Ooh, that DOES sound good. And that’s something we’ve never done. I’m sure my mother would have thought of it.

  9. I do love ice cream, you can have the banana.
    Way cool to see part of your stride analysis! Wishing you success in fixing the issues.

    1. Wilma:
      Thanks. I’m hoping… and hopeful. Maybe I’ll even be able to run again… and jump off walls (or at least curbs). I love banana. My mother told The Kid Brother when he was in his teens that a banana a day was good for him. So, of course, he has had to have a banana every day ever since.

  10. Because I walk all day long, I wear out shoes quickly. The worse part is when they get so loose-fitting that they become impossible to tighten no matter how many knots you tie. I end up walking in this weird way to keep the shoes from actually falling off, and I’m sure that’s not good for my feet.

    1. Kirk:
      It’s probably even worse for your back. I wear really good shoes and sandals with good insoles (and added insoles) and lots of support. So I was surprised when the podiatrist told me the next time I buy sneakers to make sure they’re more rigid around the back of my foot. He then showed me the ones I’ve been swearing by as my best were too flexible and enable more skewing of my left foot. He said they were great shoes, but not as great for ME as I thought.

    1. Deedles:
      I forgot to add that to the end! That was the plan from the start. Daylight come and me wanna go home.

  11. I know I don’t walk correctly. I am a heel striker which can be seen in how I wear out the soles of my shoes. I also have a few bone spurs! I am working on trying to walk better though, but it is hard to always think about how my feet hit the ground. That banana bread looks so good. And my one big downfall is ice cream. Love it.

    1. mcpersonalspace54:
      I guess I would be called a left-heel striker. I tried on my walk home to concentrate on not slamming down on my left heel (which I didn’t know I did). Being aware of it, I KNEW I was doing it and could find no way to stop it. Hope the custom orthotics help.

      Although I do, obviously, love ice cream, I have to be in the mood. It really would piss SG off when we’d walk by an ice cream place and he would ask, “Do you want some ice cream?” and I would say, “No. But I’ll wait for you if you want to get one.”

      1. mcpersonalspace54:
        Artesan ice cream shops now surround us. I pass them in every direction, some blocks have more than one. I can’t believe I haven’t stopped at any all summer.

  12. I would get a tummy ache over that banana barge. But now since you brought it up, I did however just last night eat what a call a Bavarian Waffle. I take a Madagascar vanilla waffle, load it up with vanilla ice cream, pour over some hot fudge, and top with whipped cream and a few cherries!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!

    Now you two have me hungry for banana bread.

    1. Mistress Maddie:
      That waffle and ice cream sounds incredible. There’s plenty of banana bread right now. Too bad Spain won’t let you in!

  13. Interesting about your walk. Hopefully you’ll learn a healthier way to position your foot, though I imagine that’s not going to be easy after so many years of walking! I have oddly shaped feet too so I sympathize with SG. They’re size 10 1/2 but a triple E width and a super-high arch. Argh!

    1. Steve:
      The new orthotics are supposed to help relieve the pressure. So I don’t guess I’ll be actually learning a new walk but maybe I’ll find ways to adapt and be more aware. It’s so frustrating for SG to find shoes. Even in the States. He usually just gives them his size and says bring out whatever you have. Often, that means he’ll be shown one pair of shoes (usually none at all). Sorry you have to deal with that, too. It makes it no fun to shop.

    1. TexasTrailerParkTrash:
      Mount Monadnock!!! Talk about dying and going to heaven. Hot Dish, knowing SG’s midwestern origins, would be fun, too.

  14. Wow, thanks for those memories of Jahn’s. I spent many a Friday night there during college. Would love some of Gerry’s recipes for the banana bread and the apple cake. Already wrote down your balls recipe. I love to bake.

  15. When I was a kid, my favorite ice cream dish was the banana split (which I, too, never shared). My second fave was a vanilla cone (soft ice cream) with a strawberry “dip.” That meant the ice cream was dipped into a melted strawberry (or chocolate) mix that would harden on the ice cream to make a shell. I’m sure it was very healthy. Ahem.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I used to LOVE to go to Carvel’s for a brown bonnet (same as your chocolate dip). SG actually found gourmet pint containers of ice cream, dark chocolate ice cream completely surround by that hard, dark chocolate shell. Incredible and way too rich… especially when you eat it all in one sitting (which is difficult to not do).

  16. I went to see the podiatrist; he turned out to be a psychiatrist. He said: ‘something is terribly wrong with you your nose is running and your feet are smelling’.

    1. Urspo:
      Oh dear god. Now THAT is a Dad Joke if I’ve ever heard one. I told my psychiatrist I had short-term memory loss. He asked “How long?” I said, “As long as I can remember.”

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