Thursday, July 20, 2006


Summer isn't only about ice cream. Even for me, ice cream's greatest and most unnecessary advocate, summer offers other sweet, cooling pleasures whose appeal increases by their juxtaposition to the humidity. No, I'm not speaking of margaritas, daquiris, or coladas, although all three are inarguably sweet, cooling, and pleasurable. No, this is all a lengthy introduction to my extolling the virtues of FRUIT. Fresh, ripe, summer FRUIT. Did you know that A LOT of the fruit we consume are the OVARIES of a flowering fruit tree? Now you do. Here is an ode to those ovaries:

My praise begins with peaches. Inedible in the wintertime, peaches are an ephemeral delicacy; their season is short, but their lusciousness is limitless. What is more scrumptious than a ripe peach, its delicate, downy skin barely keeping its juicy flesh from bursting out? The answer is NOTHING. NOTHING IS MORE SCRUMPTIOUS! Eat a peach and feel the juice drip down your chin; this is the definition of privilege.

On to cherries. Belonging to the genus Prunus (along with the aforementioned peaches and the forthcoming plums), cherry season, at least in this country, starts in June, and ends soon after. Brevity is the soul of wit, and, in this case, deliciousness. I like to work a cherry's smooth, taught skin between my teeth, eat around its little stone, and then spit the pit at criminals and racists. I love cherries; they are beautiful to look at, and are the best summer finger-food.

And then there is the mango. This beauty is the prom queen of the fruit world -- it has a reputation for being one of the most commonly eaten fruits in the world. This might be in part to mangos' high sugar content, or to their extreme juiciness, or to the fact that they are the national fruit of India and Pakistan, two highly-populated countries. I like mangos because they are tough to get into; their flesh is a bitch, but the reward inside more than makes up for it. At least they're not a tease, right? A fresh mango is messy and wonderful, and my own ovaries sigh enviously because they know they will never be as sweet.

Finally, the plum. I loved this fruit in a poem before I loved it in my mouth. And now I love it both ways, especially in the summertime. My paternal grandmother made a cake with plums that would drive you crazy overjoyed. A man in Patterson, New Jersey, forsake his wife for this fruit. And then he wrote about it. And she forgave him. That's how good they are.


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