Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Coconuts and Pineapples

When I was growing up, there were relatively few fruits and vegetables in the supermarket. The lettuce was iceberg, the oranges were one or two varieties, and there were only a few kinds of apples as well. No jokes about me being there at the Garden of Eden. By the way, I promised myself I would never say, "in my day," and the longer I walk this Earth, the more I found myself drawn to that phrase.

Every once in a while, my father would bring home a fruit or vegetable foreign to me. The two I most remember are the coconut and pineapple.

My dad just tossed me a coconut, and said, "Can you open this for the family?"

Meekly, I asked, "How?"

"Not a clue," was my only hint.

I banged the coconut on the sink, and nothing happened. I banged it again, hoping for a different outcome, and nothing happened. Then I placed the coconut on the kitchen floor and banged it on the floor. Same outcome. I took a can of pees from the kitchen cupboard, not sure if I thought it would be the best hammer for the fruit, and I beat the coconut. Still nothing.

I ended up taking a screwdriver from the garage, and pounding the screwdriver into the coconut with a hammer. Oh, for those of you who may not know, this may not be the best way to open the coconut.

I was able to rescue most of the milk into a glass, and I mopped up the rest of the milk from the floor. Yes, I could tell that there was liquid inside, but between the can of peas and going back and forth for pounding tools, I forgot about the liquid inside.

I eventually opened the darned fruit, served the pieces that touched screwdriver to my brother (he did not care, though I don't think he was properly informed about the preparation techniques used), served some to me, and let my Mom serve the rest to the family.

My dad bought another one a few months later, and asked me to open it. I suggested that my brother open this one, and Dad concurred.

Brother asked Dad how to open the fruit, and he said, "Ask your sister."

My response, when asked: "Not a clue." And I handed him a can of baked beans.

Pineapples were another fruit that was a treat. I never used a screwdriver or can of peas to open this fruit. Instead, this then thirteen-year-old used a very large and sharp knife.

I remember placing my small hands around the handle, ensuring that no fingers were anywhere near the blade. Then I thought, interestingly enough, why the heck are my parents letting me use such a dangerous kitchen utensil at a tender age. I was pretty sure there was no life insurance involved, and if there was, my dad would have suggested using the knife on the coconut.

I cut the top of the pineapple off first, later planting it – the plant lasted several years and never made a tree. It looked like a big airplane plant with better leaves.

Then after 237 cuts to the rest of the pineapple and half-of-a-roll of paper towels, I extracted the fruit and the core. I told my brother the core of a pineapple was a hallucinogen, and he ate it that night. He ate so much of it that his throat started itching – a side effect of the hallucinogen, I suggested. For years, he thought he had a pineapple trip. Until he learned he just had a mean sister.

I wonder if people would eat more fruit if they had better experiences with them – instead of their mothers and fathers saying, "Eat your darned fruit and veggies." I just wish I had a good star fruit story.


Matt-Man said...

I didn't realize that writing about a young girl opening a coconut could be so amusing. Funny. Cheers!!

random moments said...

I'm loving the hallucinogenic pineapple core part! Hilarious. Wish I was as clever a thirteen year old.

I have a bond with figs because I have a memory and story behind them. Makes them that much more special when they come in season.

Not sure how we happened upon each other, but so glad I visited! I really enjoy your writing style.

Prata said...

My father did the _exact_ same thing to me as a child. I used a butter churn gear to break into was pure luck I didn't waste the coconut milk all over the place. I was like 7.

Basically, we had a butter churn with a glass bottom. The gearing was all metal. I held the coconut between my feet and angled the churn gear atop the coconut after I pounded on it a bit. I think I used a brick for that. I don't remember. Either way, once I had a dent in it..I used the butter churn gears to chew through the dent and split the coconut.

It took me a long time I think. I was very young lol.

Michael M. said...

Found your blog today and was amused by the fruit experience. Great writing!

You must be on to something. I had a good fruit childhood and still love fruit. I got caught however trying to conceal some unwanted ham in my glass of milk though...and I still don't like ham - even when it doesn't taste like milk. :)

Jay Cam said...

coconuts were really hard to open!

and when you do open them, it's kinda sad to see that there is not a prize inside, just some milky stuff!

Leesa said...

matt-man: thanks, sweetie.

random: not sure how we came upon each other - maybe from ~deb's blog.

prata: a butter churn gear - priceless. Thanks for the story.

michael: thanks for stopping by.

jay: one would think there would be some coconut-type thingie that would make it easier to open.

SSC said...

Very Cute!!!!

I like the whole not a clue comment both you and your dad shared.

Leesa said...

ssc: thanks, sweetie.