Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fruit in the Basket

{A Fruit Stand that Changes Lives}







The other day I shyly asked the neighborhood fruit-wallah, who must be at least eighty years old, for his Best Guava. He carefully handed me, as if it were a baby bird, a pallid, near-rotten lump of something the size of an orange and the bruisiness of an overripe pear. But when I sliced it open at home the flesh was sherbet pink, the aroma heady with tropical perfume, and the flavor, the flavor: sweet and smooth at first but marvelously piquant just as it went down, like a good poem.

Feeling braver from the transcendental guava experience, I returned the next day and declared that I needed *coconuts.* Coconuts, which are not for the faint of heart. Coconuts, which require physical violence and audible swearing in order to get at the thing it is you want to eat. The old man sized me up, deducted that I was incompetent, and cracked dem 'nuts for me. As goes the coconut ceremony of fruit stands across India, he handed me the fibrous goblet and I drank the water, which, as you may know, is quite rejuvenating when it's hotter than Hades out. Later that night I got a lesson in grating out the flesh, which, as you may not know, and which I am telling you because we're friends, goes stunningly with yogurt, pineapple and tamarind chutney. (Mine is store-bought, but this tamarind chutney recipe looks *killer.*)

So, thank you, little fruit stand man. You have no idea, and we don't even speak the same language, but you're changing lives, hombre.

21 comments:

  1. Your blog is great你的部落格真好!!
    If you like, come back and visit mine: http://b2322858.blogspot.com/

    Thank you!!Wang Han Pin(王翰彬)
    From Taichung,Taiwan(台灣)

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  2. this looks like the real and more delicious version of pinkberry. i love coconuts and have never had a fresh one. sigh.

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  3. lol, I felt that way when I discovered Persimmons, the Hachiya type. My Vietnamese neighbor across the street gives me baskets full.
    The first time I was like whaaat? and when they got squishy I threw them away!
    Then I found out that's when they are best.
    I swear that's what they based the Greek Gods Ambrosia off of!

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  4. I absolutely love coconut, in all forms. Coconut butter, water, milk, flesh...yummm. I'd drink coconut water all day long if it weren't so darn expensive. Helps when you can get it for cheap off the side of the road - one thing I did for the first time in Costa Rica. Life changing experience, indeed.

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  5. Here's what I love: the fact that you can turn buying fruit into a great story which generates the most entertaining mental images and puts a smile on my face. And now, I need to go buy a coconut, some yogurt and make myself a little chutney. xoxo

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  6. Can I request photo of charming "fruit stand man" if he'll oblige? I love the people of India and I bet you could capture some amazing faces.

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  7. I have been searching for that crazy coconut scraping tool everywhere. Our silly "upscale" grocers haven't a clue, and as we all know, hammer claws and zesters are not the answer, albeit the hammer does have it's purpose. Pray tell, is this something only the wisest of the ancients know where to procur???? A silly secret tool from India? I am so craving a fresh pineapple, coconut, ambrosia guava anything!

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  8. the guava is gorgeous and reminds me of my favorite ween album! How is it that you make everything look so lovely? did your parents whisper some special magical incantation over your cradle?

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  9. It looks so delicious! I love having fruit in the morning... Actually any time.

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  10. i would like to see a picture of the fruit stand man. I imagine him superhero style, the indian edition. Some kind of Super Goof. I love that he opened the coconut for you. Last time I tried to do that I almost lost a finger.

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  11. love your words...have i ever told you that? the way they just come tumbling out so clearly and deliberately. just as every other post, your words make me giddy with life.

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  12. I whole-heartedly echo what Stephanie said. After reading it, my thought was - such a simple story, yet beautifully written, as usual. Sigh. I love it here.

    Merci!
    Shannan

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  13. Oh, that coconut. Perhaps one day soon you'll graduate to being deemed capable of handling your own?

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  14. ohhhh, guava. i am so in love with your life right now! how do i follow in your footsteps?

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  15. Ok, ok, you guys. At your bidding I went to the fruit stand this morning armed with my camera and homeboy wasn't there! Word must have gotten out in Fort Kochin that he's a minor celebrity on an obscure blog, so grandpa skipped work today lest I come after him looking for a photo. Sigh. I'll try again soon. Promise.

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  16. I'm afraid we're misguided over here in our domestic quest for the 25-person watermelon. It is extremely satisfying to have a melon all to one's self.

    And your blog is obscure like that melon is flavorless. Even before you were outed for that business with the goats.

    Are you painting?

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  17. i´m loving your latest adventure! can´t wait to see what happens next.
    happy painting!

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  18. I have spent the last week reading your blog from day 1-I've loved it and I am dying to become part of your 'spring robin/chicken/etc gang'! I also can't wait to see the painting happening these days- thank you for all you are sharing- it really is very special- have lots of fun!

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  19. wow. everything looks amazing. i love guava and coconuts. what an awesome life experience you're having.

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  20. i love fresh coconuts! and what beautiful guava!

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  21. I am loving hearing about these adventures in India, fruit, dye, bike riding. It sounds amazing! Pictures, as ever, are gorgeous.

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