Did you know that the banana is Iceland's third largest export? Or that in Uganda, a working man's daily food ration includes eight pounds of peeled bananas? Banana-loving weight worriers, meanwhile, can take comfort in the fruit's low-fat content (0.2 of a gram) and scant 85 calories. This entertaining tribute to America's most ubiquitous fruit is a bowlful of banana facts and lore. But if all that you want to do is to eat the things, dip into the Banana and Plaintain Cookbook (the second half of the volume), where you'll find a sampling of dishes from the cuisines of banana-loving realms. These include a tri-layered omelet of beef sauce, string beans, and plaintains (from Puerto Rico); a Philippine banana and salmon salad; and ""Gypsy Arm,"" a pastry-encased banana/pear/raisin main dish from Mexico. While most of the recipes are not complex, they could be time-consuming, and more thorough serving instructions would be helpful. Which is the correct wine for bananas?