A lit­tle known fruit called the per­sim­mon

Oman Daily Observer - - LIFE -

The word ex­otic doesn’t ex­ist in Ara­bic lan­guage. When it gets trans­lated, it be­comes ‘strange’. Of course, this causes a great deal of con­fu­sion when food and lands are de­scribed as ex­otic in English.

What’s so strange about food? It’s all to do with taste and tex­ture (now you see the dilemma with food ‘tast­ing funny’). How about ex­otic lands? They do have moun­tains, rivers and trees like the rest of the planet, right?

At home, we use the word ex­otic as a joke to de­scribe any weird sit­u­a­tion that makes no sense. Just re­peat the word ex­otic twice, and some­one would laugh, guar­an­teed!

In my child­hood — be­ing the only girl at home — I al­ways ac­com­pa­nied my mother to the su­per­mar­ket. Fruits that came from other con­ti­nents al­ways fas­ci­nated me such as: Dragon fruit, pas­sion fruit, ly­chee and per­sim­mon.

I re­mem­ber ask­ing my mother about per­sim­mon in par­tic­u­lar as it looked like an orange tomato with thick skin. With a nostal­gic sigh, she’d re­mem­ber see­ing it for the first time in Ja­pan. Ask­ing her how it tasted al­ways made her shud­der and an­swer: “How would I know? I never tried it be­fore!”

When it came to food, both of my par­ents were never the ad­ven­tur­ous type. They be­lieved that any­thing they’re not used to eat­ing would cause them a fa­tal stom­ach ache.

I never dared to ask them to buy any ex­otic fruit. Other than be­ing ex­pen­sive, what if I didn’t like the taste? I wouldn’t hear the end of it from my mum and would have to force my­self to fin­ish it while curs­ing my stupid de­ci­sion.

Years later as an adult, I had the chance to try all the ex­otic fruits that I once mar­velled at on the wasn’t a fan of toma­toes and imag­ined that it would taste some­thing like it. But fate had other plans for me.

While be­ing in Spain last year, I struck a friend­ship with the Moroc­can shop­keeper Ahmed who owned a fruits and veg­eta­bles shop in the neigh­bour­hood. Ev­ery time I went in, Ahmed would add some­thing ex­tra in my bag: Or­anges, dates or straw­ber­ries.

At one time, he put a piece of per­sim­mon in my bag say­ing in Span­ish: Un re­galo para ti! I smiled and thanked him gra­ciously while I had an in­ner de­bate whether to ask how to eat his gift: Should I peel it? Does it have stones in­side? I de­cided to keep my ques­tions aside and ask for the ad­vice of our mod­ern-days or­a­cle: Mr Google.

Reach­ing home, I opened my lap­top and typed the ques­tion: “How to eat per­sim­mon?” and a flood of videos came up. I clicked one of them that showed a piece of per­sim­mon with the stem be­ing re­moved be­fore be­ing con­sumed with­out fur­ther ado.

Be­ing health con­scious, I checked its health ben­e­fits and was sur­prised to know that al­though be­ing high in su­gar lev­els, per­sim­mons were rich in iron, man­ganese, vi­ta­mins A and C. From that time on, I be­came a fan of the fruit and kept buy­ing it dur­ing my stay in Spain. I con­tin­ued the rit­ual here but was dis­ap­pointed by the qual­ity that reached us from Le­banon as it was ei­ther frozen or rot­ten.

Two weeks back, I found ones that were brought from Morocco and they were much bet­ter. Not like the mag­i­cal one that was given to me first by the Moroc­can shop­keeper but close enough. Rasha al Raisi is a cer­ti­fied skills

trainer and the au­thor of: The World Ac­cord­ing to Bahja.

rasha­[email protected]­hoo.com

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