After reading Cultures’ Chord by Hindustanka, a blog that discusses the complexities of “Living in diversity… cultural mix and… life betwixt two lands,” I missed my sunny Dominican Republic.
Hindustanka, a Russian friend who married an Indian man and relocated to her husband’s country, explained how after delighting on her first bits of Indian food she found that her “tongue as well as ears were on fire!” She suggests that foreign persons choosing India as a permanent home will probably have some difficulties doing so if they “cannot stand spices.” I nodded at the sentiment.
Her post left me feeling all kinds of food nostalgia. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, I was used to finding my snacks in the yard, the kitchen garden, or in the fields if my tummy craved something more substantial. I remember walking the few kilometers between home and school, and sneaking into
other people’s fields for a snack of
guava, tamarind or manzana de oro (golden apple)—Ms. Nené, I confess, I was the one eating your manzanas de oro. It’s the reason why I
never let you tip me after I carried your water from the well. *cough, cough, cough*
Back to the nostalgia… the reading made me miss Dominican flavors so much that for Mother’s Day I told my nephew (aka my Boy) that I wanted no surprise presents—I wanted food. My Piano Man, my Boy and I (the Little Princess spent the day with her bio Mom) went to Jardín de China: Authentic Chinese and Spanish Food, and I had pica pollo (fried chicken Dominican style).
Then we went shopping. First stop was the botánica, to get a Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia candle to light for my Grandmother. After that we got fruits that took me back to the Caribbean (and a bit of Asia *cough*): I went home with a bag full of cherimoya, dragonfruit, carambola, Haitian mangoes… It was a delight to see my Piano Man’s face the first time he tried cherimoya. “It tastes like candy,” he said. And I smiled knowingly because cherimoya is also known as custard apple.
I miss Dominican foods and fruits often. And it was so difficult getting used to the tastes of the United States when I first got here—my palate found them bland, pale, without personality, and too foreign to be any good (my palate was a rather prejudiced little bastard *blinks*).
Things have changed quite a bit in two decades. Today, I love grapes, strawberries, raspberries (and all those things I couldn’t afford in my homeland). My tummy also delights in dragon fruit, lychee, rambutan and many other delicious fruits I never tasted while in the Dominican Republic. Yep, my palate and I are quite happy with New York City’s diverse fruit basket.
Now, if I can only sink my teeth into some caimito and cashew and mamey and pretty much everything on this page (my formerly prejudiced tummy hasn’t stopped being greedy *sigh*).What are your favorite fruits, my Wicked Luvs? And if you live away from home, what tastes do you miss most? Are there any cashew trees in your yard? If so, do email me your home address and harvesting schedule *wicked grin*.