Sunday, May 22, 2011

Show and Tell- Mangosteen

I haven't made anything lately since I've been at home sleeping, riding horses, and trying to not scatter my belongings all over my mom's house which is on the market.  So, instead here is a story about fruit.  Exciting, I know.

One year ago today I was in China.  I was probably sleeping exactly one year ago, since China is on the other side of the world and all.  The mattresses were hard, and the pillows were ineffective at providing any head support.  I couldn't sleep past 6 am because I was so uncomfortable.  But I was so so so happy.

Way back then I wasn't into food.  I am kicking myself for this now!  I was initially reluctant to try anything that wasn't kung pao chicken.  For about a week I was convinced that I didn't like spicy food, but I eventually found out that most Chinese food isn't all that good unless it has a little kick to it.  I also ate a lot of ice cream.  Nestle has a strong hold on the ice cream market in China, and I stuck mainly to chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bars.  There were more exotic flavors like green bean, and other kinds of beans.  I don't think that I've ever had as much ice cream in my entire life as I did on that trip.

One of the great things about going to China was my new appreciation for how much things should and should not cost.  You want 10 kuai (not even $2) for that ice cream bar?  No way!  My best deal was a 1 kuai (1/6 of a dollar!) ice cream bar on a sketchy side street.  Yesterday I accidentally went against my rule of not buying overpriced goods.  My splurge was definitely worth it.
This is my friend the mangosteen.  The best part about Chinese food is the fruit.  It just tastes better than what we usually grow/import here, even regular old Chinese apples taste better.  The mangosteen is about the size of a clementine.  It has a thick skin that stains your fingers purple, and each white segment is juicy, has an edible seed, and tastes similar to a white peach.  If you haven't been to Asia or you aren't from a place with a prosperous Chinatown, you've probably never seen mangosteen (I can only find them at the Asian gas station/mini-mart by my house).  Oh, they also come canned in some grocery stores, but they aren't as good as their fresh counterpart.

Prior to 2007 fresh mangosteen couldn't be imported to the US because we feared that they would harbor the asian fruit fly and royally screw up our crops.  Yay for irradiation!  In WI a 3 lb bag cost me $16.  WHAT WHAT??  I didn't discover this until I reached the check-out counter, but I wanted them so bad that I found myself handing over a $20 bill while my head was screaming "WHAT ARE YOU DOING- THAT SHOULD BE GOING TO PAY OFF YOUR STUDENT LOANS!"
Lesson learned: don't buy imported fruit unless you can clearly see how much it costs (no price sign on these bad boys)

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