Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Is It Smart To Eat Something, When You Don't Even Know What It Is?

Particularly if it looks like this?

I was in Publix today - looking for some fun fruit to put in Schecky's lunchbox (I don't know about him, but I'm tired of the same old watermelon,/strawberry/apple that I've been putting in there lately...) I was reaching for some raspberries (on sale this week!) when I saw these... things! What in the world?

There was no sign, no sticker, no nothing to give me any information about them. So I gingerly picked one up and took it back to the produce associate and asked, basically "What in the world?" Very helpfully, she replied "I don't know. You want to try it? I'll give it to you as a sample."

Honestly, my first thought was a "Hell to the no" that would have made Whitney Houston proud. But then I remembered, Bubba and I are always telling Schecky that it's important to try new foods. You don't have to like it, you don't even have to finish it, but it's important to try new things - how else will you know what you do and don't like...*

Still, I am hesitant. Face it, whatever this thing is, it's U-G-L-Y. And frankly, it looks a bit scary. I ask the produce lady if she's tried it, and she looks at me as if to say "are you kidding?" I decide to bite the bullet, or rather, the scary fruit...

She gets a knife and splits the rind. (peel? husk? I don't even know what to call it) Oh my God - it gets weirder. Nestled inside is this squidgy, gooey looking sphere. It's definitely slimy, and very gelatinous looking. It looks like nothing so much as a big gross eyeball. Is it too late to back out now?

Inside the Mystery Fruit

I realize that now all three produce ladies have gathered around me, and are anxiously waiting for me to try it. Guess it's too late. "Remember," I think to myself, "It's important to try new things..."

I slurp the orb up out of its shell, and I bite down on it very carefully. I'm glad, because there is a big old fibrous pit in the middle of it. The flesh is very juicy, and yes, a little slimy. It's not as off-putting as I feared. It's sweet, and it tastes a little bit familiar...what is it???

Then it dawns on me - it tastes a lot like a grape. A green grape, that has been peeled so that you're left with just the sweet gooshy inside part. Really, it's kind of nice.
Also - upon reflection, it seemed a perfect treat for an eight year old boy. I mean really - you start of with this evil looking spiked thing, and then you open it up and there's an eyeball inside? And you can eat it and it tastes good?

So I bought a handful**, and brought them home. And they were every bit the hit I hoped they would be! Schecky was every bit as grossed out and excited as I had thought.
Schecky Examines the Pit of the Mystery Fruit

But the mystery remains... does anyone know what the heck these are?

(And Schecky's shoes are not usually up on the counter. I had announced at the beginning of the school year that after a summer of no-sock-wearing, his Keens were too stinky to wear anymore. Today I was being all domestic goddess-y and I was thinking what a shame it was that he couldn't wear them anymore. I threw them in the washer with a big load of towels and bleached the heck out of everything and hoped for the best. (But I figured, if I ruined them, no big whoop - they were too stinky to wear anyway) Anyhow, they came out intact, and are now stinky-foot free! I set them up on the counter to dry, not realizing just how unappetizing shoes on the counter look. But, for what it's worth, they are really, really clean shoes. And once I saw this picture, I moved them to a window sill to finish drying....)

*As an aside, I have to say that Scheck is a fantastic eater. He is very interested in food, and where it came from. I take for granted how great an eater he is, but when I think back to my days as a kid, I am sure that I wouldn't have tried half the stuff that he not only has tried, but likes! Don't get me wrong, he loves his Mac&Cheese and FrenchFries as much as any other kid, but how many kids do you know list "cuttlefish" as one of their favorite foods?
You'll be glad to know that since it's darn near impossible to find a restaurant in America (or at least the Southern states) that serves cuttlefish, he has decided that octopus is an acceptable substitute. Would you have eaten that as a child? I wouldn't have...

**The checkout process was long and somewhat funny. Turns out the cashier really hates it when you try to buy food that no one can name. Turns out that after they call over not one, not two, but three managers - that third manager will get fed up with the whole process and announce that the weird fruit is free... WooHoo, free weird fruit...


laura capello said...

I didn't even notice the shoes on the counter.

And um... yeah. That's some seriously scary fruit. If I see any at Whole Foods tonight I'll let you know.

Anonymous said...

You are a much better mom than me. I threw up a little bit in my mouth just looking at that second picture. Hell to the NO, NO, NO, I wouldn't have tried that. I bow to your great mommy-ness. I don't know what cuttlefish is but if octopus is a substitute... ain't eatin' that either. I have no sense of adventure where food is concerned. I would love to know what the scary, spikey, slimy fruit really is though. I bet my nieces and nephew would try it.

Anonymous said...

Google didn't help me out on your strange fruit, but let us know when you figure it out. I remember taking raisin pie to school when I was about 8 and convincing a classmate that it was "fly pie". Yea for weird stuff! And yea for S.'s adventurous appetite! Argh!

3 to get ready said...

Looks to me like a Rambutan. They're from SE Asia and I love them. But they are funky-looking, so here's to you (and Shecky!) for trying something so weird!

shizzknits said...


I'm 1/2 Vietnamese and we used to eat a litchis all the time. The ones we had were reddish or brown on the outside and more spikey, but the inside looks the same.

Fill said...

Them's tribbles, right?!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an interesting shopping trip! Good for you for being brave, so very brave. I would have probably tried it, but in the privacy of my own home so that I could hurl if need be.

MéLisa said...

Ok so my first thought was Oh Publix! I miss Publix! Then I thought maybe it was a Lychee fruit of some kind. I was close they come from the same area of the world. They would be awesome for a Halloween party! When I was in 6th grade my mom did a really cool Halloween party for me & we played pass the body parts, you have bowls of “body parts” you stick your hand in while mom was reading a story about the parts. You know peeled grapes for eyeballs, pasta for worms, etc etc. I bet the kids at school will think that you are the coolest mom ever!

Anonymous said...

wow. that was some kind of ugly inside there. and you still ate it? kudos to you. i might have done that. maybe. so it was grapey tasting?

kindly looks like one of those things i find one the ground. a chestnut? genetically modified chestnut?

can't wait to learn what it is.

yellojkt said...

It is a rambutan, which is like a lychee, except "hairier". The inside is very sweet and kinda chewy like a peeled grape. Just don't eat the seed.

Anonymous said...

AAAAAAAHHHH! You are a brave mommma! I am a food wimp. Hell to the no still has me laughing. I'm going to be saying that all week now. heh.
I can't believe you ate it. bleh! That was a good and funny post. You rock. ;-)

JMom said...

LOL!! what a funny post. (got here from potlikker)

yellojkt is correct, this is called rambutan and is as common as apples in southeast asia.

It really is good to try new things. Your son is smart (and brave :)) cookie.