Talk:Cooking plantain

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Proposed move[edit]

I've spent quite a bit of time researching the meaning of "plantain" and the distinction, if any, between "banana" and "plantain". Initially I assumed I would find a clear definition or set of definitions that could be used to clarify the content of this article.

See Banana#Bananas and plantains for the outcome of this research.

I conclude that:

  • In commerce in Europe and the Americas, a two-fold division of Musa fruits into "plantains" and "bananas" works, but this because only a small number of cultivars are grown commercially. In small-scale cultivation, and in the rest of the world, the variety of cultivars grown and eaten don't fit into this two-fold categorization.
  • The only meaning of "plantain" that meets the precision requirement of WP:AT is the use as a name for the Plantain subgroup of the AAB Group of Musa cultivars. This use is well-supported by reliable sources. It's present in the article when "Philippine plantains" (which are almost always called "bananas" not "plantains" in the source literature and are not members of the Plantain subgroup) are distinguished from "traditional South American style large plantains" (which are members of the Plantain subgroup of cultivars and so can properly be called "plantains").

There seem to me to be two possibilities to fix the current muddled content:

  1. Make this an article about plantains proper, i.e. cultivars of the AAB Group, Plantain subgroup.
  2. Move this article to a more accurate title.

I think there does need to be an article on the Plantain subgroup, but it should not cover all the cooking uses of bananas/plantains in this article.

So my proposal is to move this article to "Cooking banana". Cooking bananas are not totally distinct from dessert bananas, and the article should say this, but under this title all uses of bananas/plantains as cooked food can legitimately be covered. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:35, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

I liked when it was two distinctions. It appears that English speaking countries use two distinctions. I think plantains should stay where it is as the cooking or starch banana. Banana can cover musa as a whole. Could Banana (common/sweet) or the cultivar name, work for the dessert banana? Referring to the banana genus as musa could make sense, the same way citrus is used, but that sounds odd, and this is not the place for original naming. The word banana takes on more meanings per species as well as cultivar when a new one is made widely known. This subject does not seem as clear cut as citrus. - Sidelight12 Talk 14:06, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
It's certainly not clear cut! I'd like there to be a simple two-fold distinction as there is in popular usage in English-speaking countries. But the usage in all the agricultural and similarly more technical English sources (such as Stover & Simmonds (1987), Bananas, which still seems to be the 'standard' texbook) is different: "plantain" only refers to the AAB Group, Plantain subgroup cultivars and not all cooking bananas. And although this is the English language Wikipedia, it's also an international online encyclopaedia and needs to cover the worldwide use of bananas. Peter coxhead (talk) 14:21, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
The other uses of the word, have to be translated from any language that has more distinctions. The nav box goes by cultivars, and that should be left alone. "Plantain (cultivar)" can serve as an article title. Probably add 2 new articles "Banana (common)", "Banana (dessert)" or "Banana (sweet)" and "Plantain (cooking)"/"(starch)" could do. Or it could all be left alone, because that seemed to work before. Whatever the decision, the modifier should go in parenthesis after banana or plantain. Sidelight12 Talk 15:01, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
"Plantain" is definitely not a cultivar. It's a subgroup of cultivars with many members – only some of them are listed at List of banana cultivars#AAB Group. I'm not quite sure that you understand my point. At present, this article isn't just about plantains, it's about different kinds of cooking bananas and how they are used; plantains are just one kind of cooking banana. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:13, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Its listed as a cultivar here Template:Banana. Ok then, if more agree, move it to cook style plantain, and start an article of the AAB group, true plantains. Sidelight12 Talk 15:59, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Ah, that's definitely a mistake; I've removed it. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:19, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Actually, this article can stay where it is. Plantain itself is vague, so it can stay without alteration of the name. I adjusted the first paragraph and the hatnote to describe the information from the talkpage. You can adjust it. The point was to indicate the large usage of the word plantain, and specify this is the cooking/starchy plantain, and it won't contrast the terminology of any local dialect, scientific or popular use. I left a redlink to "True plantains" for the scientific naming, that link can be changed, if there's a more suitable name. - Sidelight12 Talk 23:52, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
I think the "(cooking)" tagged on to the title is somewhat awkward/confusing - it seems to indicate that the article is about something more related to cooking e.g. a style or technique of cooking, rather than a fruit. Would simply "Plantain" suffice (per WP:CONCISE), and the disambiguation page only be retained at Plantain (disambiguation)? AdventurousSquirrel (talk) 18:59, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
The article is not about plantains, in either of the two senses of the word. It's not about the cultivar group (which is how banana researchers and specialists use the word), because that article is at Plantain (true). It's not about plantains as distinct from dessert bananas, which is how the term "plantain" is used in North America and the UK, because it includes uses of dessert bananas in cooking and because the plantain/banana distinction is not made in in many of the countries whose cuisines are described in the article (e.g. India, SE Asia generally). If it's about anything it's about the use of all kinds of banana when cooked, whether they are called "plantains" or not. So "Plantain" would be a slightly worse title than the present one. Peter coxhead (talk) 07:18, 16 September 2013 (UTC)
Is "Cooking plantain" a better name for this article? - Sidelight12 Talk 22:34, 16 September 2013 (UTC)
Possibly, although I continue to prefer "Cooking banana". However, fixing wikilinks is a non-trivial task as I found when "Plantain" was divided between "Plantain (cooking)" and "Plantain (true)", so I personally don't think that moving "Plantain (cooking)" to "Cooking plantain" is worth the effort required to sort everything out afterwards. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:27, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Ah, I see - thank you for that explanation, I think I understand the issue better now. I believe that if you'd think it best that it be titled Cooking banana, however (which sounds reasonable to me), it'd be less complicated than fixing the wikilinks after splitting Plaintain into two - in this case it'd just be a simple redirect of one page to another, rather than having to pick which of the two articles each link should direct to. i.e., everything that links to Plantain (cooking) would simply begin to link to Cooking banana, correct? AdventurousSquirrel (talk) 04:29, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

In the first instance, yes, I agree that a simple redirect would work. But ideally links would need checking. At the risk of being repetitious, the problem is that in articles written from the point of view of countries in which distinct dessert and cooking varieties of bananas are sold and where those cooking varieties are almost always true plantains (e.g. the US and most of the Americas, North and South, the UK), when the word "plantain" occurs in an article, it may be correct to wikilink to either Plantain (true) or to Plantain (cooking), depending on the exact shade of meaning. When the last title change was made, it was often hard to tell which was the best wikilink. So even a slight change of article title could in principle mean that these wikilinks should be reviewed. So I'd like to be sure that there was some real gain from changing the title. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:29, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
On second thought... I hate to backtrack in this discussion, but if the word "plantain" in the English-speaking world almost always refers to the cooking varieties that are almost always true plantains, is it not best to make the articles reflect that usage per WP:COMMONNAME? One for banana, one for plantain, if that's how they're most commonly divided in the English speaking world, with an explanation of the cultural naming differences globally. Banana can contain a description of the various dishes made with what are called "bananas" by the majority of the English speaking world, cooked or not. If we start trying to include the viewpoints of the entire of the world, we can end up with some sticky messes - it's for a similar reason that we have on article on blue but not light blue as a separate color, even though they do in other languages like Russian. Perhaps somewhat unfortunately, whether or not this distinction has any basis in logic or taxonomic evidence can't have as much bearing as what is in most popular usage in reliable English-language sources. AdventurousSquirrel (talk) 06:06, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
Two points:
  • WP:COMMONNAME is only one of the criteria in choosing titles. There's also WP:PRECISION.
  • It would be possible to have an article about the uses of what most native English speakers call "plantains". But it's not this article. It would be about a subset of banana cultivars plus how they are used in cooking. It would combine bits of Plantain (true) with bits of this article. You would need another article or section of the Banana article to cover cooking uses of dessert bananas and the majority of the cultivars around the world that aren't either Western dessert bananas or plantains.
There's a case, I think, for four articles, covering:
  • bananas and plantains generally
  • all uses of bananas and plantains as food, not just cooking but also in beer-making
  • the cultivars that banana experts call plantains
  • the cultivars that are called plantains in the US, UK, etc.
Dividing up these four topics into three articles is causing some of the current confusion, I think, although there will always be confusion because "plantain" is a confused concept in English. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:12, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
I think I understand the desire to try to help clarify the matter by separating all of the ideas into different articles with cleanly defined scopes, but I'm not sure if that's the best approach for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I think that we'll be left with a couple of stubs, like Plantain (true) currently is, because of their limited scope. But more importantly, I think it might be best for the two titles that will be most familiar to English speakers, banana and plantain, to contain all of the information relevant to their subjects in a centralized place to present the information in a unified and coherent manner. Effectively, this could give us the opportunity to compare and contrast the ideas and say "here is what you think bananas and plantains are, and here is why that doesn't have an actual basis in physical evidence. Experts say this, other cultures say that." If we split up all of the topics, I think it can tend to make the message more convoluted unless they are made to all fit together in just the right way - and stay that way as others add their own contributions to them. I think it makes good sense, as you suggest, to have a separate article on bananas and plantains in food and beer-making, as that would have clearly defined breadth, with a separate-enough subject matter to the main article to help keep the main articles cleaner and more readable. Or do you feel that something would be lost by trying to cram them all into fewer articles? AdventurousSquirrel (talk) 05:52, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
Well, you could have one article – but it would be very long (too long in my view). I think the current two articles, Banana and Plantain (cooking) are correct in their content, it's just the title which is the problem, since both cover what US/UK speakers call "bananas" and what they call "plantains". Peter coxhead (talk) 11:07, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
I messed it up earlier. The content allocation worked out well, but the naming was off. I changed the title of the true plantain article to "True plantains", and plan to finish fixing the redirects. If "Banana (cooking)" becomes "Cooking banana" someone could try to recreate plantain, do you think "Cooking plantain" is better? I can try to fix the links. Sorry about that. Oh, for the template, which is better "common banana cultivars" or "banana cultivars"? - Sidelight12 Talk 07:50, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree on the content allocation. As for the article titles, if Wikipedia didn't object to "and" in titles, it seems to me now that the best titles would be "Banana and plantain" for Banana and something like "Culinary uses of bananas and plantains" for Plantain (cooking). Given the constraints of WP:AT, I'm still unsure that there's really anything significantly better than the existing titles. Sigh...
The template is another issue. Keep it short, I think. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:07, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
I think a title like that could work if that's what you think would make most sense, based on my reading of WP:AND. Sounds reasonable to me, and I'd think it wouldn't be considered OR to group the two based on what you've all presented. AdventurousSquirrel (talk) 01:48, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, I suggest leaving it at "Cooking plantain" for the present, which seems to work ok. If a proposal to change yet again comes up, we can see whether there is support for a longer title. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:18, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

The topic of this article (again)[edit]

As I explained above, I would prefer there to be a general "food" oriented article under a title like "Cooking banana" and then a "cultivar group" oriented article under a title like "Plantain group". However, this suggestion did not find consensus. So this article is about all uses of bananas in cooking, i.e. the a very broad interpretation of the common English name "plantain".

Now recently there have been some edits which have attempted to narrow the definition of "plantain" in the lead section. I would be only too happy to accept these edits if we can agree that all the material about cooking bananas other than "true plantains" is removed to another article. But until that is agreed, it's wrong to try to change the very broad definition of "plantain", so I have reversed/reverted some recent edits. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:54, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

I believe we should have two articles: one on the cooking plantain, and another on the sub-cultivar (true plantain). If any edits were made here for true plantains, I suggest moving it to a new article. I dislike undoing other's edits, because I think everyone tries to have meaningful contributions. Read the above section for how cooking plantain needs its own article, and so does true plantain need its own article. If you read that its likely to come to the same understanding. Having plantain by cooking method is the only clear cut way to distinguish this topic by my understanding. I think we need consensus for the title names. Plantain (true/subcultivar). Feel free to comment.Sidelight12 Talk 07:05, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
I was eager to move the page. I also wanted to keep it as it was, but as long as the distinction wasn't made in the title, someone will always try to edit it to be about true plantains before fully understanding the distinctions of categorizing plantains/bananas. It would never be resolved if it stayed where it was, no matter how clear the introduction was made. Sidelight12 Talk 08:14, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
I think you did the right thing. I've edited the lead (yet again!) to try to make it even clearer that this article is about plantain = any cooking plantain or banana and that Plantain (true) is about one particular subgroup of cultivars, the Plantain subgroup of the AAB genome group. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:43, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
I figured the distinction in english speaking markets between banana and plantain are the subgroups cavendish (chiquita and similar) bananas and true plantains. Since those two are the most popular, its a basic distinction that leaves out the many other varieties of banana. Sidelight12 Talk 10:26, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
Should we move this page to "cooking banana," but leave that article alone to include any plantain/banana used in cooking?
There is now an article on true plantains, and it would make sense to have an article for each cultivar group that formally has plantain in its name. I say one article for each cultivar group, by botanical distinction: true plantains, cavendish bananas, 2 groups that make up pacific plantains. Sidelight12 Talk 23:11, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm really unsure what the best title for this article is! Up to yesterday, I thought that it would be "Cooking banana" (as I suggested earlier), but I now think that this doesn't bring out the fact that in the main English-speaking countries (e.g. the US, the UK, Australia) "plantain" is commonly used in the sense of "cooking banana". The most accurate title would be something like "Uses of plantains and bananas in cooking" or perhaps the wider "Culinary uses of plantains and bananas" but these are too long, I think (and Wikipedia seems to discourage "X and Y" in titles; see WP:AND).
I agree that each major group or subgroup of cultivars should have its own article. I'm trying to work on something else at present, so I'll have to leave expanding the Plantain (true) article and developing other articles to other editors. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:48, 7 April 2013 (UTC)
We should move this to "cooking banana." No matter how the words are defined, this article is about cooking plantains or bananas. There is a problem with the word plantain, to my understanding: some cultures use it to define all cooking bananas, and other cultures use it to define a subset of cooking bananas. Britannica defines plantain as synonymous with cooking banana.

I understand 3 definitions: true plantain, pacific plantains, and plantain informally referring to cooking banana (by some cultures). AlxzF, is there another usage or concern of the word plantain?Sidelight12 Talk 00:47, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

ENGVAR of article[edit]

Can anyone work out what WP:ENGVAR this article is supposed to be written in? Its early history is very tangled and it has been edited back and forth by so many different people, it's not at all clear to me. Currently there are some "-our" spellings (e.g. "colour") but also some "-ize" spellings (e.g. "caramelize"), so there's no consistency. Peter coxhead (talk) 17:08, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Article move[edit]

I strongly object to the move of this article from "Plantain (cooking)" to "Plantain" without consensus being established first. Long-standing discussions have been completely ignored.

If the article is to be about the term as understood in the USA, the UK, etc. then material about cooked bananas in the Philippines, for example, should be removed, because these are not "plantains" in this sense (i.e. not starchy cultivars, mainly true plantains). Care must also be taken that none of the material refers to uses of dessert banana cultivars in cooking. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:55, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Archiving this talk page has removed a discussion relevant to the move; see Talk:Plantain/Archive_1#Restructure_proposal. When the article was previously just called "Plantain" entirely spurious statistics were added. This is now more likely to happen again. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:09, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

According to the page view statistics, approximately 68% of the average 25,000 monthly visitors to Wikipedia looking for an article on "plantain" were looking for the article that was at "Plantain (cooking)"; this is a strong indicator that the article at "Plantain (cooking)" is the WP:Primary topic. Of the other existing articles on Wikipedia (and for disambiguation we are only looking to direct readers to existing articles that the reader may be looking for - disambiguation is not intended to define a word or explain a term - its aim is to help guide the reader to the article they are looking for - see Wikipedia:Disambiguation), we have: Fried plantain, an article which gets less than 7%; True plantains, a recent article with few readers; and Plantago and Rhino Horn banana which are types of plantain.
Something that I think could be considered, is if a disambiguation page is helpful in this case. Topics such as Fried plantain and True plantains could be discussed within the plantain article (I am doubtful of the helpfulness of such articles as stand alones). Readers could be directed to specific types of plantain from the article, either as a section within the article which talks about types of plantain, or simply as a link in a See also section. There are also some navigation templates that could perhaps be better used: {{Banana}} and {{Banana cultivars}}.
Though I don't have specific topic knowledge, I am willing to help out with advice and technical assistance in tidying up the plantain topic. Just let me know. SilkTork ✔Tea time 10:49, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
To move an article without, on your own admission, reading the ongoing discussion on the talk page about the choice of article title is, in my view, an abuse of admin privilege. You should begin by undoing what you have done, and then we can continue the discussion and try to reach a consensus.
Choosing an article title is governed by the whole of WP:AT, not only WP:Primary topic. The problem with just "Plantain" as a title, as was found when it was the title before, is that it fails WP:PRECISION, as is explained in the discussions above. The article is about the uses of bananas in cooking; most but not all are called plantains. Only information about cooking should be added to the article, not information about plantains as cultivars, and the article includes cooking uses of cultivars which are not plantains in any of the senses of this highly ambiguous word. Peter coxhead (talk) 13:15, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
It may not be an abuse of privileges, but it is a misinformed move. The problem with leaving it as a plantain article is that editors will try to make it about two separate subjects from one article. This is about the cooking banana, and someone will try to identify it with a taxobox. Leaving this article as Plantain will endlessly create this problem. It took me a while to understand this, and this is a similar problem with others of different cultural, scientific or culinary viewpoints. If this moves to "cooking banana" someone will try to recreate the plantain article, so this is why its less confusing for no matter which viewpoint someone is from to call it "cooking plantain." The information in this article is (and largely was) about cooking bananas, so the name should reflect the information, rather than rewrite it when a title can easily be adjusted. I wanted the names to be as "Plantain, cooking"; "Plantain, true"; but it is not convention here to use comas. The disambiguation page needs to be restored. I see that fried plantains and the article about cooking bananas can be merged. - Sidelight12 Talk 09:01, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Properly describing the situation from the "plantain" title didn't work, even with the use of hatnotes. Someone tried to make it about a cultivar. If this article stays with this name, there will always be edit conflicts among people who only know their own viewpoint, or who try to scientifically simplify it. I even thought about how could this article be cleaned up to talk about a cultivar or cultivars. Different regions have different definitions or translations, and they are unfamiliar with other viewpoints. I kind of agreed with everyone's opposing views, figuring they have the same rationale as me, but from a different perspective. So how the articles were a few days ago seem to not conflict with the varying cultural, scientific, or culinary perspectives. And with the content distinction made earlier content conflicts have disappeared (there is only now a title conflict). - Sidelight12 Talk 09:37, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

True plantains should be a section of this article. Benny White (talk) 20:48, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

I strongly disagree. The title of this article is a compromise; it is not actually about "plantains" in the sense that these are different from "bananas" – it's actually about all cooking uses of cultivated Musa fruits. True plantains is about a distinctive group of cultivars. There's no more reason to merge "True plantains" here than there is to merge any of the other articles about banana cultivars.
Please read the discussion above. The underlying problem is that "banana" has two distinct meanings. Firstly, it's used for all cultivated Musa fruits (or indeed all Musa fruits). In the areas of origin of bananas (in this sense) it's the only term normally used in English. Secondly, in countries where bananas are imported or very few cultivars are grown, "bananas" can be distinguished from "plantains", where "banana" = "sweet banana eaten raw" and "plantain" = "starchy banana eaten cooked". This article is about all culinary uses of all cultivars. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:29, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
Ah, that makes sense. I proposed the merge because "True plantains" seems too short for a standalone article. Actually, it contains pretty redundant information to List of banana cultivars, so it would make a lot of sense to merge it there. Benny White (talk) 04:03, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
I agree that at present this is the case. The issue is whether it's worth leaving stub articles on specific cultivar groups in the hope they will be expanded. I'm generally of the view that it is, but if they don't get expanded, then at some point it would be sensible to merge. There is definitely more information on the true plantain group out there. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:38, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm against it. We shouldn't sacrifice structure, because of the length of articles. One use is culinary, the other use is botanical. Before, the article was confusing, so it got distinguished and fixed to a clear separation. This article was always about cooking banana, and it was tempting for everyone to identify it as a taxon. I'd rather have a stub article, which allows clear definitions and less confusion. - Sidelight12 Talk 16:40, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Cooking plantain - seriously?[edit]

Why, oh why would ANYONE confuse the whole banana-plantain debate by adding the new term "cooking plantain" to the muddle?

All plantains are eaten cooked or processed due to their high starch vs sugar content - even when ripe ... and ALL PLANTAINS ARE BANANAS ... so all plantains are COOKING BANANAS ... there is no such thing as a "Cooking plantain", just as there is no such thing as a "Dessert plantain"!

HOWEVER: 1) not all cooking bananas are plantains (i.e. Musa AAA EAHB - East African Highland Bananas aka Matooke), 2) not all Musa AAB bananas are plantains (see 'Silk' and 'Apple' AAB dessert banana), 3) nor are all plantains included in the Musa AAB Plantain subgroup ( Maoli-Popo'ulu and Iholena subgroups - aka Pacific Plantains - see

Could whoever is technically able to do so eliminate the hopefully unintentionally though extremely confusing term "Cooking Plantain" from Wikipedia and either organize it all so that "Plantain" leads to a disambiguation page, explaining that the term plantain may refer to:

1) a type of cooking banana, usually represented by the members of the Musa AAB Plantain subgroup;

2) the Musa AAB Plantain subgroup itself;

3) cooking bananas in general, esp. in the English speaking world, though in francophone Africa, for example, bananas are divided into "Banane Dessert" and "Banane Plantain", always retaining the crucial "Banane" to remind everyone that plantains are bananas, though bananas are not necessarily plantains!

If the "Cooking plantain" page claims to refer to: "any banana used in cooking.", it should be titled "Banana (Cooking)" or "Cooking Banana" ... but PLEASE: NOT "Plantain cooking"!

Even "Plantain(cooking)" is confusing & should be eliminated from Wikipedia - better to redirect from "Banana (cooking)" — Preceding unsigned comment added by DrAzF (talkcontribs) 16:45, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Personally, I entirely agree with these comments, and would much prefer this article to be called something like "Culinary uses of bananas and plantains". However, past attempts to reach agreement on such a move were not successful. The nature of Wikipedia is such that article titles are determined by consensus.
The problem in terms of Wikipedia guidelines and policies is that most readers searching for the term "plantain" are not botanists or horticulturalists and are from countries in which "plantains" and "bananas" are distinct. So when they search for "plantain" they mostly mean "the greenish Musa fruit sold to be eaten cooked". Similarly, many if not most wikilinks in other articles to "plantain" have the same vague meaning. WP:COMMONNAME then suggests that "Plantain" should either be an article title or should re-direct to an article, in spite of the fact that the term is hopelessly imprecise. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:24, 15 April 2014 (UTC)