Tuesday, June 29, 2010


So while Kevin was visiting, he reminded me that last year I promised we would buy and try a durian. If you don't happen to frequent Asian markets like I do, you may never have heard of it...it is the fruit of several species of tree that are indigenous to Asia. The flesh emits a distinctive odor...distinctive, of course, being code word for "rather strange". Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. My friend Melga hails from Indonesia and loves it. Her husband Vince called it "interesting"...a word which I've found is never a good sign. I had read that the smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust...as such, it has led to the fruit's banishment from some hotels and public transportation. Anthony Bourdain, a lover of durian, relates: "Its taste can only be described as...indescribable, something you will either love or despise. ...Your breath will smell as if you'd been French-kissing your dead grandmother." This somewhat set the stage for our experiment....

You wouldn't want to have one fall out of a tree and hit you in the head, either...it has a thorny armored covering that is so insidious, the cashier at my market wraps it in newspaper before bagging, as it would clearly shred the plastic bag.

Armed with the durian...we proceeded home, where Kevin googled how to open it (pulling along it's 5 seams) in front of the rest of the family. Once opened...we marveled that it didn't smell nearly as bad as we were led to believe...a slight sulfurous smell, and that was all. But the fruit had a  strange looking yellow flesh...and for once, the word "flesh" actually looked like that's what it was. It kind of freaked me out, and most people know I'll eat just about any organ from an animal.

The normally adventurous souls in my house wanted nothing to do with trying it first....so I did. Not vomiting in front of them emboldened them, and they also tried it. It was not unpleasant...we all tried to describe it, but the closest we could agree on was a "mango-like marshmallow chiffon". Kevin found recipes for it...but they were all for desserts, pancakes, and muffins. We decided to put what we didn't eat in the refrigerator until I decided what to do with it.

Which turned out to be to throw it away...when I went back to retrieve it, I found that it had morphed and took on the smell of gym socks filled with rotten eggs. This was the second food (the other being Lima beans) in my life I can honestly say I WON'T be buying again....sorry Melga!

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