Dec. 11, 2009
late, Iíve developed a craving for fruits.
†† I donít know why. Part of it may be this cyclically expanding-shrinking midsection of mine, and the fact that I have too great a love for rice and gravy. I also inherited my fatherís sweet tooth, for which he was famous. Many men in south Louisiana canít pass up a beer cooler. My father, while he enjoyed his beer, couldnít pass up the cookie jar in the kitchen and Lord forbid my mom make chocolate cake or lemon icebox pie. My momís lemon icebox pie would make you shoot yourself at her feet in adoration.
†† But I picked up a pack of pineapple hearts the other day. I donít know why, I guess that despite my whining and complaining about the sad state of commercialism and consumerism today, I was in the end too exhausted from the effort of griping about it to buy a whole pineapple.
†† These pineapple spears are the most wonderful things I have ever tasted. Iíve always loved pineapple, but this was the catís meow. I have pledged to go back and buy out their entire supply, even if I have to knock over a liquor store to fund the purchase.
†† At the same time I bought the pineapples, I saw they had persimmons for sale. My eyes glazed over, and my mouth watered, and I remembered a day long, long ago when I was but a wee lad. My dad and I were fishing on Grand Avoille Cove and we came across a wild persimmon tree Ė or so I remember it Ė and the overripe fruit was falling into the water. Huge catfish were devouring them, and we couldnít get them to bite on anything else, until Dad put a red popper on the end of his fly rod leader Ė or it may have been a Hula Popper on his bait caster, itís kinda fuzzy Ė and tore the catfish into frying pan sized morsels that afternoon.
†† After we had mopped up the catfish, he paddled over and picked me a fruit from the tree and I vividly recall the explosion of sweet, vibrant juice in my mouth, the succulent flesh and oh! I thought then I had gone to heaven.
†† So I bought two persimmons and brought them home and after a little time in the fridge and between pineapple spears, I sliced one and took a big, heaping bite.
†† The inside of my mouth suddenly constricted, began to tingle and itch, and I couldnít seem to find a place to put my tongue where it was out of the way of my throat so I could breathe as I gasped. It was a metallic, tense taste that felt like I had swallowed mercury or someone had put a Shop Vac hose in my mouth.
†† ďHavenít you ever heard the saying about someone looking like they just ate a persimmon?Ē Suzie asked me.
†† ďAh gbwesh ah douhnt,Ē I managed, and spit into the trashcan.
†† So I donít know what it was I tasted that day on the lake, but I am sure my memory fails me, because thereís no way it was a persimmon. I would never have forgotten that experience even after 35 years. Perhaps it was a pomegranate, or a mayhaw. But it werenít no dang persimmon. I wish my dad was here, he could tell me, and laugh at me for thinking it was a persimmon.
†† We also bought some blackberries, which unfortunately were pretty tasteless. I should have known better, blackberries in December? I love blackberries, as they bring back so many great memories and are delicious.
†† Figs are perhaps my favorite fruit. Iíll get in a fight with a circular saw for a bowl of fresh figs. More likely, though, I have to fight the birds and squirrels that leave me very few figs off my tree. Iíd go shoot the dang things if I wasnít such an old softie, and besides, I donít eat squirrel, thatís nothing but a tree rat in my humble opinion.
†† Now, muscadines are the bomb. I remember one July my buddy, who goes by the name The Old Fella on these pages, and I were trying our best to catch fish in a canal somewhere to no avail when we came across a patch of ripe muscadines. Heavenly purple fruit just beckoning there, and so we put our rods aside and feasted in silence like a couple kids, bursting the thick skin with a bite and a wince, chewing happily on the sweet fruit, then propelling the big seeds into the canal with an emphatic Phftuhphoooie! I donít think Iíve had such a good time in years.
†† Donít even get me started on bananas. A nearly overripe banana, a jar of peanut butter and a butter knife, and I am as happy as a bug in a rug. Maybe happier. The procedure follows thusly:
†† Scoop a dab of peanut butter.
†† Apply to top of banana.
†† Make satisfied noises.
†† (Sidebar: Some of the great joys in life are your kids first taste of carrot baby food, and your puppyís first experience with peanut butter. Priceless.)
†† Which brings me to mango.
†† They serve mango slices somewhere we have lunch often. My first experience with mango was rather like the carrot baby food and the puppy peanut butter. I put a bite in my mouth, and was unsure if I had just bitten into a pineapple, a cantaloupe or a Nerf ball. Truthfully, I think mango is some combination of all of the above. While tasty, it has the most unusual Ė and disturbing Ė texture of any fruit Iíve ever tried. In the same way that I suspect that scientists invited the ďfungiĒ taxonomic order to place mushrooms simply because they couldnít find anywhere else to put them, I think mangos deserve their own division, since they are clearly not meat, vegetable, fruit, pudding, floral foam or Spam, and exist as some sort of Cretaceous Period throwback.
†† Itís the same with kiwi. I canít for the life of me figure out what kiwi is, but I like it as long as I donít let myself think about it too much. It looks like a mini coconut, tastes like a cross between a pineapple, melon and Pez. Good stuff.
†† I love lime with my Mexican beer. A slice of lime in a Modelo Especial is worth risking a fruit fly infestation. I no longer drink commercial beers, considering the lot of them poor imitations of beer and unworthy of the name. My favorites are the Mexicans, and if your only experience so far has been with Corona, while not a bad beer, you donít know jack about Mexican beer yet. One of the great things about the influx of immigrants is that itís easier now to find Mexican beer on the supermarket shelves.
†† But we were talking about fruit. I love blueberries, peaches, pears, satsumas (please donít bring me any) and strawberries. A strawberry dipped in dark chocolate should be a national landmark.
†† So I think Iíll stop on the way home and pick up a few fruits. Does a body good, I reckon.