Fuzzy Fruit

Last weekend a good friend of mine informed me that her mother had never eaten kiwi fruit before.  Both of us were shocked.  In her entire kiwi-consuming life, my friend never realized that her mother was not taking part in the action.  She bought a couple kiwis for a fruit salad she was bringing to a picnic and so she gave her mother a slice and her mother fell in love.

When I told my mom, she was initially shocked, as well.  How does one go so many years without tasting a kiwi fruit?  I know this friend’s mother had been exposed to many a fruit salad in her day as fruit salad is a staple of family gatherings, picnics, and summertime eating.  Kiwi, although not native to our area, is certainly plentiful enough.  But when we thought about it more, it made a little bit of sense.  Even if you’re indulging in a big fruit salad, you’ll only eat what you’re familiar with, right?

I asked my friend who introduced her to kiwi if it wasn’t her mother.  She said she could not remember her first kiwi experience.  I guess that’s OK considering I cannot remember mine either.

I remember watching Little Women, the movie, for the first time.  It was the version with Winona Ryder (infinitely better than the earlier versions which botch up the story, if you ask me) and I don’t think I had read the book yet.  Seeing Jo (Ryder) take such careful bites of the orange that Frederich gave her seemed so silly to me.  What is so special about an orange?  We probably had a whole sack in the fridge.  My mom had to explain to me that “back in the day” fruit wasn’t as readily available to everyone except in the areas in which it grew because transportation was not like it is today.  To this day, when I see that scene, I wonder how that orange really did taste compared to our comparatively super fresh produce available today.  How old and warm was it?  Would we have rejected it and thrown it away like we do so often with barely damaged food?  Imagine, an orange as a delicacy.

And so I think, of the fruits we mixed into the fruit salad that sits in our refrigerator right now, what should be there by nature’s standards?  What could feasibly grow in this Midwestern soil?  What would a fruit salad look like to Jo March? And how many people have never tried a kiwi before?

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