Ratha (papertygre) wrote,
Ratha
papertygre

Durian

Today was sort of a free-pass day at work. There was an all-hands meeting from 10 to noon, a "ship party" at a nearby billiards hall from 2 till 5 PM, and nothing much happening in the 2 hours in between. Rather than go to the ship party, I took the opportunity to help my friends Eric and Silvia move from their temporary housing to their new condo in Bellevue. I also gave them my futon, since they are without furniture for a few more weeks and I needed someone to provide storage for my futon (more about that later). It was raining, but not too hard, and we were done by about 5:30.

After the moving, we went back to their temp housing so they could make me dinner. On the way, we stopped at Uwajimaya (an Asian grocery store) and picked up some mangos, bananas, and avocados. Silvia also noticed that they had durian, and when I said I'd never had it, she got very adamant that I try it. Eric didn't like the way they smell, but after some talking back and forth he relented, and Silvia and I bought a durian.

When we got back to their place, Silvia started trying to crack open the enormous spiny thing. Durian would probably have been best suited for dessert, but she wanted to get that going first. She split the spiky rind with her knife, and it pulled apart into about six pods. Inside each pod were two or three racquetball-sized lumps of fruit flesh in a line, each one surrounding a seed the size of a small avocado pit. The fruit flesh was a pale yellow but there were two textures rolled into each lump, a sort of opaque custardy cream-yellow part and a stringier, mango-colored part. The lumps as they came out of the durian were kind of upsetting in appearance, actually -- the way the colors intermingled, they looked like raw chicken with the fat on, sort of. I actually found the appearance more off-putting than the smell, which also (according to Eric) wasn't "as bad" with this durian as with some others they'd been around. It smelled like a sweet fruit smell, but with a little tinge of strangeness. The strangeness was probably due to the sulfur Silvia said the fruit contained, which (in bad durians) is probably capable of smelling like rotten eggs or excrement.

I ate one of the lumps of fruit flesh, had mixed feelings, and was mostly satisfied. It was both sweet and rich at the same time. A mango has sugar but no fat, an avocado has fat but no sugar, but a durian has both; I was told it would taste like ice cream, but somehow as a fruit it seemed like 'too much'. Silvia was really digging in though. She devoured several of the lumps and then asked if I wanted to take any home for the freezer. I was ambivalent but I said sure. She also prodded me to eat another lump, which I did. She then seeded the remaining lumps and created a baggie full of durian mush for me. Then she proceeded to suck every last bit of fruit off of the seeds that had been removed.

So now I feel like a proper raw food enthusiast, to have tried durian. I think it's unusual to be ambivalent about it, though -- most people seem to either love it or hate it.

After dinner, we watched most of "Go Further," a documentary-ish depiction of Woody Harrelson and a handful of other people biking and driving a biodiesel-fueled bus from Seattle to LA in 2001, and doing environmental activism along the way. I heckled some of it, which fortunately my hosts didn't seem too annoyed by.
Tags: food, movies, social
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