First Time

Exotic Fruit

The sense of wonder that a child has, when every day involves discoveries and every event occurs for the first time, is gradually eroded with each passing year. Our childhood experiences leave strong impressions, helping to form our opinions and tastes, while later on we begin to trust our memories rather than our senses.

"I don't like spinach," you might say, remembering how it tasted when you were young. Yet we should strive to make time to learn new things, and relearn what we think we know. That way, we're less likely to lose the joy that comes with doing something for the first time, when all our senses are heightened and a pleasurable expectation informs every activity.

In an effort to recapture that sense of wonder, my mother and I set out to find new experiences, things that interested us but that we had never done before.

One of the first ideas that came to mind was to taste fruits we had not heard of, let alone eaten.

There are over two hundred varieties of exotic fruits. Many have become more widely distributed and familiar in recent years, including kiwi, kumquat, lychee, marula and papaya. On the other hand, some of those endemic to Turkey, such as muşmula (medlar) or the fruit of the jujube tree, are still hard to find in North America.

We chose four new fruits, but were unable to tell whether they were ripe and ready to eat. The star fruit was watery, and tasted faintly of cucumber. It was difficult to let go of our preconceived notions and eat these fruits without seeking the more familiar flavours of those we'd grown up with. We kept comparing these fruits to the juicy peaches, crisp apples, and endless varieties of grapes that we're used to. The most exciting looking one, the dragon fruit, seemed to have the blandest flavour.

Yet perhaps someone who'd been raised eating dragon fruit might say the same about apricots?

July 2011

Old Articles by Deniz B. Bevan:
Ideas for Your 'Staycation'
Istanbul: I Only Have Two Days To See Everything!
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Bladeby Diana Gabaldon
Approaching Ireland by ferry...
Just Plain Nesin