“…it was so rich and exotic I was seduced into taking one bite and then another as I tried to chase the flavors back to their source.”

The morning has been a busy one around the Ryan homestead. The huge pine branch which fell is gone as are several branches and a dead pine tree or two. I had to keep an eye on my landscaper as many more trees would have gone on the chopping block. He loves to cut down trees. All the ground brush was also cut down then everything was blown clean, including the deck. The yard looks great. The deck needs a bit of washing because of the birds, and I’ll do that later.

Finally we have a glorious summer day, sunny and cool, and in the 70’s. It rained again yesterday so the grass is staying green and the flowers are tall and filled with buds. My front garden will soon be awash with brilliant colors. Every morning when I get my papers I check on the garden. I stand and marvel at how fresh and beautiful it all looks.

I really have nothing to do today, but I thought I’d go to the library and Agway. A few of my deck flowers need a boost so I’ll buy some annuals which didn’t find any homes and supplement the ones on my deck. I ate tomatoes yesterday, cherry tomatoes, straight from my garden. They were sweet and juicy.

When I lived in Ghana, I had a bowl of fruit for lunch every day. The bowl was filled with oranges, pineapple, pawpaw, mango and bananas. I never tired of that same meal. The fruit was as fresh as any fruit I had ever tasted. Ghanaian oranges are green and on the small side, but they are the sweetest of the fruits. I used to buy one or two to eat when I was on the road traveling. Aunties and small girls would come to the bus window to sell oranges from trays on their heads, and I always bought a couple.

My love for pineapple comes from Ghana. Before eating the fresh Ghanaian pineapples, I had only eaten Dole’s cut up pineapples in thick juice from a can. I’m not even sure we could buy fresh pineapples when I was growing up. Had I seen one in the flesh, I would have thought it a strange fruit with all the nobs on its skin and the green sprouting top.

Sometimes I think about the foods I ate when I was a kid. Most vegetables came from a can, corn in the summer being an exception. The fruits were apples, oranges and bananas, nothing exotic unless you count green apples. I don’t remember farm stands anywhere near we lived, and farmers’ markets were a long way off in the future.

I know it was Ghana which totally changed my palate. The fruits and vegetables I ate were fresh from the market. Some I hadn’t ever seen or heard of before, but I tried them and mostly liked them. The chickens were still alive when I bought them but the beef wasn’t. It was iffy. I didn’t really care. I ate it anyway.

I found out there was more to the global world of food than just Italian and Chinese. Though I didn’t think about it at the time, one of the best side benefits of being a Peace Corps volunteer was an educated palate grown out of a curiosity about trying and liking new foods.

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8 Comments on ““…it was so rich and exotic I was seduced into taking one bite and then another as I tried to chase the flavors back to their source.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    My thermometer says we reached 91,4F today and I’m not surprised. A bit too hot for me and it feels like I’ve lived in the shower 🙂 We had five minutes of thunder and the temperatured ropped real fast and I felt life returned. As soon as the thunder had passed the temperature rose again 🙂

    We didn’t get much rain, just enough to get the humidity sky high again 🙂 🙂 🙂 I walked barefoot just after the shower and still didn’t get wet feet 🙂 🙂 🙂 Well, it’s summer so I won’t complain. Soon enough we’ll get cold weather and autumn again.

    Living in the city where all cargo came through our harbor meant having lots of different fruits avaliable. Mostly the same as You had but pineapples, passion fruits and mango wasn’t that unusual at home. I remember the first time I tried Kiwi fruit and it didn’t take long to understand that it should be pealed before eaten 🙂

    Tomorrow will be much the same as today so I won’t do anything until it gets cooler again, on Friday they say.

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      That is just too warm for my tastes too. I love today though I cn feel it getting warmer as the day ages.

      That’s always the way it is. We complain about the weather we have wishing for colder or warmer or rainier weather and when we get it, we complain about that too.

      I never saw kiwi in Africa. It was when I got back home, and it was sometime later. Even the regular grocery stores have so many exotic fruits now and all sorts of peppers and herbs

      It will be warmer here tomorrow but the night will be cooler. I’m fine with that-all the better for sleeping.

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I remember shopping at First National in my teens and seeing Ugli fruit, coconuts, pineapples. Those were about the weirdest fruits I can recall. My mother would buy the coconuts and pineapples but not the Ugli fruit. It was ugly and it looked rotten when it was not. Figs were around because this town is mostly Italians and Irish and Italians like their figs. Not usually fresh figs, though.
    I am spoiled for supermarket mangoes. The first mango I ever tasted had been picked from a friend’s tree in Florida on a Sunday, flown here and handed to me on a Monday morning. No mango I have had since has ever tasted that good.
    My food palate was broadened by a friend in work. She had been born in Japan before WWII and grew up between the Netherlands and Indonesia. She married a Sri Lankan and settled in Djakarta until after WWII when they came here. She was always eating weird food. Early in our acquaintance she was eating a tongue sandwich. Being a picky twenty-something, I said Yuck. She asked if I had ever tried it and when I said I hadn’t, she replied “Then do not be so prejudiced”. She was right, of course. I have tried many strange and wonderful foods since then but I still haven’t eaten tongue. 🙂

    The dogs and I went to the lake. It was Piki Dog’s first time there and he was excited. He waded in the green algae stuff as did Rocky. I had to hose them off when we got home. They were not pleased. I was not sympathetic. Algae smells.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I loved dates but never saw them fresh either. I don’t remember coconuts or ugly fruits being there, but I didn’t really shop with my mother all that much.

      I know what you mean about mangoes. I love them but seldom buy them here. The ones in Ghana were so juicy and delicious.

      I have eaten tongue. It was in Kumasi, Ghana and was the first course at a restaurant. It was served on lettuce, and it looked as if there had to be a person underneath sticking his tongue out. It was the texture more than anything else which put me off. I tried it but didn’t finish it and haven’t had it since.

      Green algae is one of the best things for dogs to walk through and get covered in muck. They never seem to mind. Hosing off Gracie would also not be well received. I’m glad they had fun.

      Have a great afternoon.

  3. flyboybob Says:

    When I was a kid my mother brought home a coconut and my dad opened it with a ball peen hammer. We were amazed at the milk that came out of the shell. Another time my mother brought home a pineapple. She spent a long time with a big knife removing the skin to get to the sweet fruit inside. Before those two days our fruit also included canned fruits in syrup. In the summer time fresh fruit replaced the canned variety. In the fall we ate Texas Ruby Red grapefruit.

    Today plane loads of fresh fruit and fresh flowers are flown daily from South America. The jet age not only expanded international travel for the masses but brought in exotic foods from around the world.

    Today was hot and clear again.

    • katry Says:

      I never saw a real coconut until I was in my teens. We also opened it to drink the milk. I didn’t think it tasted all that great. As for pineapples, I don’t remember when I first saw one. I did see them growing in Ghana which I though was sort of cool.

      None of us were grapefruit fans when we were younger. I like the Ruby Red when I got older, but my mother didn’t buy it very often.

      My mother told us about getting in an orange in her Christmas stocking, and we thought it a bit of a gyp until she explained how difficult it was to get oranges during the winter so that was an expensive treat for them.

      You are right about how globalization has given us to expect every sort of fruit all year long even in the dead of winter.

  4. Lori Kossowsky Says:

    It is mid seventies here and a cool wind is blowing thru my window. Cookie is sleeping, but I’ve already served her. I think I’ll have blueberries for lunch. Still in bed waiting impatiently to attend a house concert Sunday–Sarah Donner.
    I ordered a Carrot Cake from the bakery, that is rectangle and says: Sarah Donner Sings Outside the box. Here is the song that inspired the words…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdddDwRq0zI

    Lori and …..

    • katry Says:

      It is the same here, 74˚, but it was so humid all day. I had my AC on in the whole house, but I may just leave upstairs on for the night. I just came inside from watering plants on the deck, and there is a lovely breeze.

      Blueberries need another fruit to keep them company, maybe strawberries.

      I love the song, especially the title.

      Waving back!

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