Fruit? Good. Artificially flavored fruity candy? Also good, but it never seems to taste very much like the fruit it’s trying to emulate. In general, that’s fine by me—just try to pry the Sour Patch Watermelon from my sticky, sugar-crusted hands. But there’s one artificial fruit flavor that’s always struck me as the furthest away from the original fruit: banana.
It’s not that it’s a pale imitation of the flavor; it’s more that it’s such a specifically wrong flavor. When I eat a banana-flavored candy, my tastebuds send a signal to my brain: “Not banana! This is definitely NOT a banana!” It tastes like disappointment. I was resigned to living with the mystery of why artificial banana flavor tastes nothing like real bananas. But luckily for me, season 2 of Mystery Recipe, a podcast from America’s Test Kitchen Kids, answered a question that’s burned me up since I lost a tooth in a banana Laffy Taffy (i.e., the probable source of my bananamosity) when I was a kid.