Gam Gam’s hot banana water

Maybe your taste buds have already been blessed by its presence, or maybe this is your first time hearing of Gam Gam’s hot banana water.

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Raymond Rosales

Maybe your taste buds have already been blessed by its presence; maybe this is your first time hearing of Gam Gam’s hot banana water.

Hey Hills! We’re very excited, because today we’ll be teaching you a family recipe and a school tradition: Gam Gam’s hot banana water. Maybe your taste buds have already been blessed by its presence; maybe this is your first time hearing of it. Either way, you’ll walk away feeling refreshed and learnéd. But before we talk about the recipe, a quick little introduction:

The nights were always worse. The moon hung cruelly in the ink-black sky, mocking those chained by gravity to this monstrous world. The stars shone brilliantly, yet were blind to the blood being shed. The cold air echoed only whimpers and stung the tear-stained cheeks of those who could still cry. At least during the day, the sun partially pierced the shadows, giving some meek semblance of warmth. It was a dim beacon of hope, something fools chased for, longed after. But not at night. Never at night.

The world has changed greatly in the past thousand years. The age of kings and knights came to an end, and was replaced by an era of steel and glass. The advent of things undreamed of, great technological advancements, infinite knowledge at the mere flick of a finger. And yet we do not remember them. The names of those we feared have been eroded by the sands of Time, brought down to fable and legend. But there were hundreds of thousands of people who bore witness to the Brothers’ War.

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As you all know, the illustrious Hill’s Academy was founded by Zachariah Hill in the year 854 Anno Domini in Southeastwest Birminghamshireton, Old England. Conversely, Valley Conservatoire (AKA “The Valley of Death”) was founded months later by his evil brother, Augustus Valley, in Le-Plaeioux-d’Vie-en-Prouvidençex, France. 

Both of these institutions were considered to be the highest concentration of intellect throughout the entire continent of Europe. These two would later inspire the founding of Oxford University, a mere speck in comparison to the sheer magnitude of wisdom radiating from Hill’s Academy and Valley Conservatoire.

The rivalry between the two twins, Augustus and Zachariah, ran deep –– so deep in fact that it influenced the zeitgeist of their respective countries. Though both originally hailed from what would become Germany, they moved to the budding kingdoms of England and France, respectively. 

In fact, King Charlemagne and later King Arthur knew of these brothers and what they were capable of. This is why Britain and France were rivals for so long: because of the underlying hatred of these twins. But it was not always so bitter. They were once quite the dynamic duo, thick as thieves. Back when they were younger, they shared the same last name: Meadowland. But they had taken opposing surnames during the Brothers’ War, where both fought over the Recipe of Old. 

They were the only two children born before their parents died in a carriage accident. This left Zachariah and Augustus as the only living heirs to the Meadowland name. As such, an exception was made in order to keep the family legacy alive. For centuries, the Meadowland bloodline had remained stable and fruitful, through an Elixir passed through the generations. 

Usually, this Recipe of Old was passed from grandmother to granddaughter. But Zachariah and Augustus were a special case. Since they had no sisters, it fell upon them to learn the recipe. But as was tradition, only one of them could learn it. Their grandmother, Gammadym “Gam Gam” Meadowland, chose Zachariah Meadowland to take on the burden of knowledge. And so he learned it from his grandmother who learned it from her grandmother before her, continuing all the way back before recorded history.

But like Cain and Abel, Augustus grew jealous of his brother. “Why should he learn the Recipe of Old and not I?” he asked himself. “My harvests are as bountiful as my brother’s, my sword as sharp, my mind as cunning, and my legs as swift. There is no reason that Zachariah should be chosen and I should not!”

Little did he know that their grandmother, Gammadym Meadowland, had a weak form of clairvoyance, and she saw the paths that the two brothers would take. She knew of Zachariah’s dormant magical abilities, and of the chaos Augustus would bring. But she could not bring herself to tell her dearest grandsons.

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For weeks, Augustus seethed with a silent rage. His mind was poisoned by the desire to be the sole heir of the Meadowland bloodline. Overcome with envy, he turned to dark, unholy arts in order to kill his own brother and learn the Recipe of Old. For two decades Augustus roamed every dark crevice, dank corner, and shady alley in search of any evil method to become the rightful heir… He traveled to cursed and decrepit realms: the Pillars of Heracles, the Beggar’s Cove, the bottom of the Aegean Sea. But none of the dirty tricks he learned could compare to what he obtained from reading the Necronomicon. The pages were written in a tongue illegible to those who were sane, but Augustus had welcomed the throes of madness long ago.

Never before had the lands of Europe seen such conflict and bloodshed. Forests were scorched, villages were raided, the peoples of Europe felt the wrath of Augustus Valley. To protect the land, Zachariah Hill created an order of knights, the Septem Knights, named after the Seven Hills of Rome. This would later inspire King Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, to assemble the Knights of the Round Table.

On the other hand, Augustus summoned unnamable beasts from beyond the realm: Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, Nevinyrral, Kgin Q’uttajkol, John Malkovich, Xnopyt, and their infernal ilk invaded this world, corrupting reality with each step they took.

To pull such beasts from the Void, Augustus had to make offerings and sacrifices. It cost him greatly, but it was a price he was willing to pay. Be it at the cost of his followers’ lives, his two legs, or even his right eye, Augustus lusted to drink the Elixir. Despite his brutality, his followers looked up at Augustus, who represented the determination and ambition of a true king. They too strived to rule Europe with an iron fist, completely under their control.

There were countless battles between Augustus and Zachariah, the greatest of these being the Siege of the Green Cathedral, which ended the Brothers’ War. The Siege lasted for seven years, but Zachariah and his Septem Knights held strong amidst all the chaos and suffering. Within the jade and emerald walls of St. Jonathan’s Cathedral, the troops trained day in and day out to be prime warriors, the very best of their generation. Because the very best is what they needed to fight what Augustus was summoning.

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It was through the power of the Elixir that Zachariah and his warriors were able to survive the daemonic forces Augustus wrought on the land. The Recipe of Old had kept them alive in the face of insurmountable danger. Though they suffered great wounds, only those who did not drink the Elixir perished. It nourished their bodies and fortified their souls. With this strength and constitution, they were able to fight off the foul beasts from the Abyss. After a desperate final push, the Demonic Generals were forced to retreat, fleeing from impending doom. Some returned to whatever wretched hole they emerged from. Others simply perished. Some even say a few of those infernal beasts continue to live today, hiding in plain sight among us.

And like that, the Brothers’ War was over. After nearly a century of conflict, the champion stood, bathed in the rays of the golden dawn. It was Zachariah Hill, donning his signature blue cloak and standing atop a pile of demon corpses. He let out a victorious howl that his army gladly returned. They would celebrate for seven days and seven nights, in remembrance of those fallen and to commemorate the dawn of a new age.

The Brothers’ War scarred Europe in ways unimaginable. One of the greatest and most noticeable of these was the creation of the English Channel, as this was where many battles (including the Siege of the Green Cathedral) were fought. The damage they wrought upon the land was so great that the twins indirectly created a gaping chasm between Old England and France, which would later fill with water. Before that, the British Isles were connected to mainland Europe.

Although his minions fled and his cult disbanded, Augustus was not slain in battle. In fact, rumor has it that he could not be slain, for he learned the forbidden arts of invulnerability and undeath. Though he could not be killed, he knew that there awaited him fates worse than death, especially after all the pain he wrought upon the peoples of Europe. And so, he too fled. No one knows exactly where he is, or where he could be. But we do know the fate of Zachariah.

Having drank the Elixir so many times, Zachariah’s life was stretched far beyond that of any other mortal man. He lived into the early 1900s, and that was when he decided to emigrate to the United States, and bring the Recipe of Old with him. He lived a quaint life, adjusting to this newly birthed nation and its growing culture. Having seen the travesties of war, Zachariah decided that it would be selfish to keep the Elixir a secret that only the Meadowlands knew of, and he took it upon himself to spread the Recipe of Old throughout the world. 

Nearly half a century later, during the ‘60s, he would found a branch of his original Hill’s Academy right here in New Jersey: Hill’s High School, located near Pascack Brook. As the Wheel of Time turned, the name changed. Just as the names of Augustus Valley’s fiends were gradually forgotten, Hill’s High School of Pascack Brook gradually became known as Pascack Hills High School. 

And just by sheer coincidence, a branch of the old Valley Conservatoire was opened up just a few miles south, called Pascack Valley High School. Zachariah let out a timeless sigh. “Old habits die hard, I suppose.” But the two brothers had shaped history enough, and within the next few decades, both of them passed peacefully. And though their bodies have faded from this world, their legacies live on.

And that’s the story behind the creation of our Pascack Hills, and also Gam Gam’s Hot Banana Water. Now here’s how to make it yourself!

Ingredients

  • 6 quarts of boiling water
  • 12 banana peels

Instructions

  • Peel bananas. 
  • Pour six quarts of water into a pot and bring to boil.
  • Place all 12 banana peels into the pot with the water.
  • Dispose of bananas.
  • Boil for seven hours.
  • Enjoy! (This step is mandatory and cannot be skipped.)