Wednesday, November 22, 2006

tropical fruit

first of all, let me start by saying i have always had a love/hate relationship with certain foods mostly due to several food allergies. lately, things have gotten a bit better. some of my allergies have now changed & shifted and miraculously, some seem to have even disappeared.

like a lot of people, i am also partial to texture of food. anything slimy like okra or natto makes me recoil. i recently threw out a dish i made which, for some strange reason, ended up having a glutinous and stringy consistency. funny, there are people who love this.

photo: wax jambu from malaysia

this leads me to the subject of tropical fruit, something i have always tried to like but can't get around it. memories of gasoliney smelling papaya and ripe, gooey mango — amongst other more "boring" north american type fruit — being prepared by my mother to feed her zoo of parrots and tropical birds will always be with me. though many a time i tried to force myself to like these fruits, i just can't. i know it's strange, especially when i get questioning looks as to how i could NOT like these things. i didn't say ALL tropical fruit, pass me litchis, mangosteen or rambutan any day — i won't say no.

interestingly enough, i learned through the painful experience of my friend's brother, that the mango tree is related to those potentially deadly peanuts. the sap of the tree is highly irritating and touching it caused severe hives with a trip to the emergency ward.

all this to say that while i am not a fan of certain tropical fruit, i still find them amazingly exotic and beautiful to look at. trips to chinatown and indian shops make me stop and inspect them, wishing my aversion to them would disappear. even their names, custardapple [cherimoya], sapodilla and guava sound appealing.

here is an amazing link to a great site where you can get a view of a myriad of tropical fruit [and some regular ones we know but with an amazing variety shown], some of them you may never even ever have heard of before. there is also a section on bananas and mangoes — of every imaginable variety. take a look at the "praying hands bananas" in the section on bananas and then make sure check out the sections at the bottom for the links about caterpillars, the obscenely pornographic pseudobombax ellipticum and one amazingly good looking baby. very cute, i must say. this is the author's (other) photograhy site, with several recipes.

this is another link for a vast variety of tropical fruit to look at.


ServesYouRight said...

Fabulous links BB!

Speaking of tropical fruit - here is a jackfruit link for you:

who is still recovering from clambering up trees!

Anonymous said...

I grew up eating mango so I have to say that I love those, but my husband is severely allergic to them so I haven't had one in years!

Now litchis, those I adore. They're hard to get around here though. I especially love them in chilled honey syrup. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

burekaboy — said...

smita - finally, you come down from the tree! LOL. no scraped knees, i hope.

thanks for the link, i will be sure to check it out.

i thought the link in this post was terrific also. hard to believe how much variety there is with these fruit and it gives you a glimpse of how the fruit grows in the wild or on plantations. some interesting other things there, too.

hey ari - i am, too, also very allergic to mango which is probably why i have an instinctual aversion to it. i was surprised to read that your husband is allergic to it because i don't hear too many people who have this one. people usually give me weird looks when i say i CANNOT eat anything with mango, like it can't be true.

litchis totally rock! i love them chilled, too. i remember raiding trees with my friends on kibbutz. fresh off the trees at night are the best!

Ostara said...

I'm pretty timid when it comes to trying out new foods but during the last year I've overcome a life-long dislike of olives and now enjoy them every chance I get. Perhaps it's time to sample something a bit more adventurous!

A friend who spent some time in Thailand described eating durian ( ... smelled like old socks that something died in ... now there's a fruit I think I might avoid! (Apparently it tasted quite good, despite the 'aroma'.) :-)

burekaboy — said...

hi ostara! - you are not alone. i know so many people who DETEST olives. i happen to love them, oddly enough. i think it's an acquired taste. i had quite a few things that i have only recently come to love over the past several years. it is interesting how our tastes change as we get [cough] older. have you had tapenade? so delicious with a nice baguette.

i have seen durian in the asian markets here deep frozen. i am not sure i could get past the nauseating smell long enough to eat it. who knows, i can't say anything until i've tried it.

here's to getting over food phobias! lol.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Lately, I have tried a few exotic fruits in order to expand my horizon and it wasn't always crowned by success.

Rather than being disgusted by the fruits I tested, I was more bored by certain of my experiences (not all, though). I was simply not surprised at all by the barbary fig or papaya (Blech! Too sugary and floury. I needed a lot of lemon juice to make it pass...) which were bland and uninteresting! But, I've also discovered some delicacies like guava and cherimoya. I also love jackfruit, rambutans, litchis, longans, mangostans, mangoes, passionfruits, Nashi pears, plantains, carambola, etc...

For example, I dislike watermelons (eeek)! But, I don't have any kind of problem with gluey stuff as I'm addicted to that texture (tapioca, glutinous rice, etc...)!

Les goûts et les couleurs...

Ostara said...

Ahhh, tapanade. The very reason I now like olives. There's a restaurant in Burlington called Sonzi where they make a lovely tapanade and serve it with fresh, hot homemade bread to start every meal. Mmmmmm.

Your blog always makes me hungry!

burekaboy — said...

ostara - i shall post some tapenade recipes for you to try at home, all you need is your bread.

glad to hear my blog is keeping you hungry. at least, it's low cal! as long as you do the eating with your eyes alone.

rosa - you don't like watermelon! quoi?? never tried a barbary fig but i can say that papaya, in my opinion, est vraiment déguelasse. lol. maybe that's a bit strong but it conveys how i feel about that one.

you are very adventurous! i will give you my portions of gluey stuff. but i do like glutinous, thai rice. it's dry but sticky. that's ok, lol. ;p