Thursday, September 29, 2005

Two Food Items

First, I need to remember that even if it seems I'm cutting up a lot of okra, it does cook down a bit. I ended up with too much corn and tomato in the okra creole tonight. It was tasty, but could have used more okra in proportion to everything else in it.

Second, Celeste tasted (and loved) a new food today — pawpaw, the fruit of the pawpaw (Asimina triloba) tree. She was a bit grumpy after waking up from her nap so we took a long walk with the goal of ending up at the Riverdale Park farmers market; the walk itself was uneventful, but one of the first things I saw at the market was sign about pawpaws.

I've been interested in pawpaws for a few years now, ever since encountering an article about them in the Post and then ending up making an early-morning run to the Dupont Circle farmers market one Saturday to get a taste of pawpaw before they were all gone. I've flirted with the idea of getting a seedling or three to plant (I really like the idea of edible landscaping), but Evelin's never been too keen on the idea or the fruit for that matter.

Pawpaws, the largest indigenous fruit in North America, are basically a type of custard apple, which is generally a tropical fruit, but pawpaws thrive in temperate zones throughout the U.S. East and Midwest. The few times I've had them, my favorite way to eat one is to just cut it in half and scoop out the ripe flesh — the taste is faintly reminiscent of bananas and guava with a hint of citrus and an almost yoghurt-like texture. It's creamy, a little floral, and tasty.

The stand selling them apparently has a few wild trees on the farm's property and they've entered an agreement with some kids who find and harvest the fruit and the farm sells them, splitting the take with the children. I got a quart box with about six smallish pawpaws for $3.00, which I'd consider a pretty good deal, although I think even the greenest of them will be overripe by the weekend.

I put the cut pawpaw within Celeste's view while she finished up some chunks of sweet potato, and she was definitely wondering what it was. When I gave her a spoonful, she started doing her full-body thump, which we understand to be a sign of approval. I'd cut open the largest of the pawpaws for her thinking she'd only eat half at best. She ate the whole thing (except the bits of pulp I got to nibble from the seeds — pawpaws have big, kidney-shaped seeds).

The real test, however, will be tomorrow. Celeste has been known to be crazy for a food one day (for example, papayas on Tuesday) and then to zero interest the next day or sometimes even the next meal.


Evelin said...

I say yuck. But Celeste did like the paw paw.

marchenland said...

You knew Natchitoches supposedly means "place of the paw paws," right?

Which is odd, because they seem a bit thin on the ground -- or on the trees -- there.

T. Carter said...

I thought it meant "eater of the chinkapin nuts." ... hurm, googling around it seems both the chinkapin reading and paw paw reading are attested, although many of the cites are from some LSMSA thing, so who knows how reliable that is ...

And I don't ever recall seeing a paw paw in Natchitoches ... I know I didn't eat one until I moved up to DC.

marchenland said...

I was under the misguided impression (quickly fixed by Google) that a pawpaw and a chinquapin were the same thing.

If they ever take away Google, I will go postal. In fact, the sooner I get my Google Brain Plugin that allows me to Google things from the comfort of my own eyeballs, the happier I will be.