One of my co-workers has been bringing in fruit lately. This co-worker was born and raised in Thailand so these are not your everyday fruits. They're more "sharing the fruits of my youth" fruits. These fruits are a lot of fun! I don't mean by this that an apple isn't fun. An apple can be tons of fun! Just think of all the fun you have had with apples! But these fruits are a little more adventurous.
Recently she brought in some dried jackfruit. This was sweet and intensely chewy, and I was surprised by how much I liked it. It was odd that I hadn't eaten it before. That might have had to do with the lack of romance in its name. Jackfruit? Seriously? Also, apparently, it's a big fruit and a fair bit of work to get at the flesh. I expressed to my co-worker how much I liked this dried jackfruit and soon she brought in some fresh jackfruit. This was even better, very firm, and I can best describe it as tasting like a cross between pineapple and banana. It was a little bit creamy when chewed.
A longer while ago she brought in tamarind, which I'd never just had cracked straight out of the pod. I loved these; dense, sweet, and tartly flavorful, and I found the seeds left over to be so pretty, like strange, dark teeth, that I was compelled to wash them and save them. They're in my drawer here at work somewhere. "Oh yeah." I say when I run into them while rummaging for something. "Those are my tamarind seeds."
Tonight we got durian! Durian is famously overpowering, said by some to smell of rot, and is banned in most public places in its native countries. She brought in this piece of fruit triple wrapped, unveiled it for smelling (it wasn't bad, but it was strong), and doled out our bites on individual forks. I have had durian ice cream once, so the flavor wasn't completely unfamiliar. I found it somewhat savory, a little bit garlicky maybe, cream? sage? I really couldn't say exactly. The flavor was clear enough, but it wasn't very sweet, and even not knowing the fruit I felt it probably wasn't a very good piece of durian, probably a bit under ripe. It would have been better with sweetness. But it was still interesting.
There is a YouTube channel I like called "Weird Explorer". On this channel the host has devoted himself to tasting every kind of fruit imaginable. He has tasted a ton, but he keeps going. There is more fruit out there than I have dreamed. I wouldn't mind tasting it all myself. But the truth is I probably won't be traveling to Columbia, or Vietnam to do so. But this generosity of my co-worker is a good start, and an easy one. Maybe my next step can be a little more adventurousness in my local markets.
I can always find room for another little hobby, especially if it involves eating.
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