Monday, October 22, 2007

Red


The remains, when I paused to photograph them, of a tropical fruit salad: mango, pineapple, prickly pear and pomegranate...southern Asia, South America, the Middle East and North America all in me bowl from the bazaar in Istanbul... Ain't globalization something?




Prickly pears (Opuntia ficus-indica)...3/$1 at Mr Lee's on Atlantic...I was picking the fruit up gingerly, fingers at the ends to avoid the tiny prickles when a lady asked me, Vhat do zey tasde lighe? Hm, I thought. Like long ago....except the ones we ate in South Africa were usually green and sweeter. I remember buying a bucketful, literally, from an old peasant woman on the side of the road - she was dusty and as dry as the landscape around her, and very poor, and had plastic containers filled with prickly pears, I think it cost something crazy like R2 then, 1990...in the Eastern Cape. We gave her R5 and felt embarrassed. The fruit we peeled with sticks right there, and it was warm and dribbling sweet juice. Someone taught us as children to peel them: an incision lengthways through the thick skin, after having chopped each end off. Hold down with a fork (or stick) and push one side of the cut skin down with a knife, and it unwraps like magic. No prickles in the paws.


But these reds are, despite their remove from the drylands, a close second, once they've been chilled. A cold prickly pear seems an ultimate luxury.



The 89c California pomegranates...very small, like apples and very sweet...I peel them while watching The Avengers, and eat them for dessert. The tannin in the skin stains the cuticles; big drawback, but whatever. Then I eat them with a spoon.

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