Gluten-Free Diet – How Food Connects All Of Us

Persimmons (5) web
For all the press about Americans not including enough produce in their diets, people in NY must be eating a lot of fruit. There are fruit stands scattered throughout Manhattan with piles of bananas, apples, oranges and bags of onions, garlic and other seasonal produce.  In the 10 block walk from my apt to my yoga studio I pass 4 of them.  While they don’t usually have exotic or unusual wares, they do sell the occasional seasonal goody – a basket of figs or a yuzu persimmon.  While I find higher quality tomatoes and apples in traditional grocery stores, I always go to the stands for bananas and onions.  On a recent Saturday as I entered the yoga studio, I was disappointed to see the stand across from me without any of my beloved persimmons.  After finishing class, I saw a few hidden under a bag of lettuce, five for $2 – jackpot! As the fruit seller (I wish there was a more fun word like fishmonger) bagged up my loot, he said “these are my flavor.”  What did he mean?  English was clearly not his first language but but ‘flavor’ was very clear and it just didn’t make sense.
“What?” I responded.
“these are my flavor”  as I continued to look confused he said “I really like these too!”  Ah, he meant ‘favorite’
“I know, I luuuv them” I exclaimed.
“You know they get much sweeter if you wait for them to get soft.”
“I know but I like them firm too.” (oh and I also am usually too impatient to wait…) When he asked me how I ate them, I said “Just like this, I cut them up and eat them raw.”
“Did you know that some people cut the skin off?”
“Really? I always eat the skin.”
“Me too,” he paused and then asked “Where are you from?”
“Ha, I’ve lived in NY for 8 years.”
“Yeah, but you aren’t from here.”
“What, how can you tell?”
“You just aren’t.”
“Well, where do you think I’m from?”
“What? Ew. No.”
“No, California.”
“Really? Welcome to America!” he laughed as I walked away.

I’m constantly amazed at the ability of food to bring people together.  We were totally engaged and enthralled with the conversation as NY bustled around us.  Here’s to the power of food (now I’m going to go eat a persimmon….)

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Doris said,

December 18, 2008 @ 5:51 pm

how funny. I thought everyone peeled the skin off persimmons. I’ve been eating them since I was a kid and have never ever tried the skin! I guess it’s good? good story Catherin-o!! :-)

Sarinee said,

December 18, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

That is a beautiful persimmon! I really like the Chinese kind; I don’t know the official name, but it’s the ones that are a bit more flattened. I tried to like the big Japanese persimmons but I just can’t. I tried one and it triggered my gag reflex on the first bite. So I thought I just bought a bad one. Years later I tried to eat another one and spat it out like a child would spit out spinach. I do peal the skin though and I like them medium firm. There is almost a peppery flavor when they are midway between hard and soft. Now I will go stare at your persimmon picture and drool.

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