The most ridiculous of fruits, kumquat, came in at #2 in the “most looked forward to” category of the Frootcamp lineup–right behind dragon fruit, because, dragons. Look at these little guys. Why should tiny oranges warrant such a hilarious name? They don’t have polka dots, spikes, or humorous genital shapes. Truly I didn’t think they were very special. They were just incredibly tart, poppable oranges (the true poptarts). Like if popcorn were healthy, sticky, and required a whole minute to peel. Like a bag of sour patch kids that aren’t fun to eat and aren’t accompanied by that renegade, digestive glee of breaking down gelatin (‘fiery poops’ if you can’t read between the lines).
All in all they weren’t bad. I won’t embrace kumquats into my daily lunchbox (as I’ve done with apples, bananas, and watermelon), but I also won’t stick my nose up at this creature of the plant world and say “Nay to thee!” All I can do is the Obama face, really. No other reaction seems appropriate.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down there, raspberries. I’m not trying to incorporate you into my lunch schedule. I’m not even trying to eat you right now. All I did was put you in my champagne sangria to acclimate my mouth to your flavor so that maybe, mayyyybe I’ll try you for real tomorrow. After all, I can’t think of a better way to deal with force-feeding myself lumpy, red beads with fur coming out of them (?!?!) than to smother said beads in sweet, sweet alcoholic nectar.
Next Day Update: I ate one. …Yeah, no. I’m vetoing this week.
As the only atheist in a large family of born-again protestants I’m no stranger to uncomfortable gatherings where “getting saved” is a predominant topic (and even a requirement for attending). So it was that I endured the 2 hour journey through rural Christendom that was my aunt’s funeral with acquired composure and a shrug [where the proselytizing was concerned]. Unlike most people of her faith, though, this woman was a good Christian in most of her values and deeds–the kind that give the faith a positive light while most members seem to work tirelessly to achieve the opposite. While the persistent attempts at converting people wasn’t an admirable quality, absolutely everything else about her was–she didn’t see race, nationality, or gender, and offered kindness and generosity to all those she met. My praise for her, though, is simply a backdrop to this post and is unrelated sentiment I felt obligated to share since my story occurs at her memorial service.
As my cousin finally got up to give the ultimate in personal reactions to his mother’s death and began with a shaky voice and glossy eyes, my dad silently left to “take his turn” watching Sean (his 18 mo. grandson, who my brother was corralling for the majority of the ceremony). My dad returned about 20 minutes later, long enough to be assured that the most emotional speech of the ceremony, the one succeeding in its threats to provoke tears, would be long since over. He leaned in and nonchalantly droned, “Did I miss anything?”, of course referring to the 9th iteration of spiritual testimonials currently transpiring. At that moment when dad made a joke it hit me. This is where I get it from. My entire life has been a journey to remain emotionally aloof in public, living the mantra “Keep It Together” even when no one expects me to and perhaps no one around me is either…. to push through moments where I feel my face burning, my stomach lurching, and my eyes stinging just so no one will witness my being moved before an audience. This often leads people to think I don’t care. Ironically enough, my dad takes the role of my persecutor at these times–he, the king of this tactic. For example, I remember when our dog died when I was 16. I chose to mourn alone and not interact with the family or watch the burial. Because I didn’t burst into tears [publicly] like a good nancy woman-folk, I caught him twaddling to the rest of the family that I was some “callous” kid who didn’t have respect for life or who didn’t love the dog or [fill in other phrases for "valuable human being" here]. Not a tear did he shed, by the way… but as a woman I was expected to build a wailing wall and subsist on the vapors to validate the family’s sense of loss.
Blatantly sexist anecdote aside, though, I never realized before today at the funeral from whom or where I got this feature. My father’s and my shared trait of grief secrecy (i.e., wearing a cool face at all times) has the downside of assuring presumptuous assholes that I’m inhuman because I don’t mourn or carry on in public. But our trait also has an upside: when a born-again devotee whips out an enormous, 4 foot long shofar and tries to bring down the walls of Jericho at the reception, my father is the only person in the room to whom I could have leaned over and whispered, “This is some Planet of the Apes shit right here” and who would then laugh hysterically.
So, blackberry, we finally meet. You have fuzz, seeds, and little bulges–all the reasons why fruit is untrustworthy. I gave you a lick, but your sour, seedy skin greeted me with a grimace. What’s a girl to do, then, but smother you in Greek yogurt? Eating my “berries and cream” concoction was grueling on day 1, but by the end of the week was a pseudo welcome distraction from my otherwise warm, dry lunch. In other words I bludgeoned myself into dealing with it for so long that my taste buds stopped fighting, in the same way that my mother actually thinks diet coke tastes great now (she conveniently forgets about the years she spent calling it “bug juice” while giving me her sales pitch for why I should switch). I get it. It had potential. I like yogurt, and in theory I do like berries and cream…. ice cream, that is. But this notion in healthy form? Eh, diets be hard, y’all.
I’m holding a brunch in two weeks, and I was actually inspired by week 8 to create this wonderment of foodie jello shot, the blackberry bramble jello shot. I may even go through with it! But this brings me back to my blackberry experience: shall I incorporate berries and cream into my normal regimen? It wasn’t awful, but it also wasn’t amazing. I might do it again…. But for now, I’ve decided to go with the time-honored tradition of “let’s not and say we did.”
On a related note, this week was littered with my mind singing this song unsolicited at 9am:
There are those Teapartiers on your newsfeed that you always suspect don’t fully understand their positions…. And then an application like Facebook just makes it so much easier to confirm that suspicion when they press “like” on an article that not only disagrees with but outright debunks their position simply because they misunderstood the title, proving once and for all that they share articles only in an effort to appear as informed as their opposition.
And then once being called on it:
Ah, the letter E. I chose elderberry for this week, although wikipedia failed me. There was a strain listed as “American Elder”, which was suypposedly available in the eastern reaches of the continent. …And perhaps it is during summer. I don’t know, friend. What I do know is that it’s freaking April; time to start pounding some berries in my oatmeal, and in my DC metropolis of Wholefood markets there was not an elderberry to be found. I settled for generic blueberries, likely from El Salvador, as I acknowledge it is far from berry season.
Honestly, it wasn’t awful. Blueberries are at least not cantaloupe-level awful. That’s my current scale right now, with apple being “all right, I can handle this 5 times a week” and cantaloupe being “why, oh gods, why this torturous goop?” My success lies in the fact that I ate the entire bowl of berrylicious oatmeal and will likely not give up on this fruit before week’s end. I might switch to blackberry just to balance my taste buds towards a more realistic area of where an elderberry might fall…. and who knows, maybe blackberries will be awesome. I’m not a genie. I can’t just guess. It occurs to me that while previously I had at least an inkling of how a fruit might taste, I haven’t the foggiest foreshadowing for blackberries. To be continued…
By the way, it’s all well and good to plan a healthy and pinterest-inspired snack at work. But don’t be disappointed when it doesn’t quite feel the same as snacking on your country home porch.
Having blueberry oatmeal at work: The Idea
courtesy of starbucks.com
Having blueberry oatmeal at work: The Reality
the view from my desk throne
I get it. It’s cirtusy, it’s called “ruby red”, it’s the picturesque healthy woman’s breakfast. I appreciate the semantics. But don’t think I’ll go easy on you because I didn’t need to add sugar, grapefruit. This species’ leniency in the “tart” arena is not enough to mollify my disapproval. We aren’t bffs…. but we did speak this morning and put each other’s numbers in our phones for a tentative brunch date. So, progress?
Firstly, the whoreson took 10 minutes to eat, and I feel like all I’ve done is slurp a few spoonfuls of pulpy juice. If I were on a desert island I’d need to slice into and anxiously scoop through 5 grapefruits to get the feelings of fullness I could otherwise receive from a serving of Ritz Bits. Secondly, now I am sticky. Thirdly, my right eye stings because every attempt to carefully excavate the next segment of the grapefruit shot a projectile tart stream into my cornea Clearly, eating this is an acquired skill. While the taste isn’t deplorable, the consumption experience is. Mayhaps I’ll just juice you at night and drink your entrails in the mornings from a safe and easy thermos. …Then we can end our tango.
In conclusion, grapefruit… You looked so delicious when I google-imaged you, but then you wiz’d in my eye.