Fruit 101: Flesh, agriculture, staple, nutritious, and raw. Oh, and forlorn fruits we like to call “vegetables”. That’s my adjunct lesson. Cut some up, toss them together, and call it a fruit salad. Label it fruit cocktail, it’s still chunks of fruit lobbed together. Even the colorful are well-worn on the inside. Luckily, we have the spice trade as a dutch uncle. He’s our one way ticket out of Sleepy town.
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That gourd. The one from South Asia. If you find this botanical berry creeping in your garden this summer, you’re in luck. Containing phytonutrients and lignans (polyphenols), the cucumber bolsters our cardiovascular health and lends us a helping hand in our crusade against cancer. Whether slicing or pickling, we can all stand to reap the health benefits of Cucurbitaceae.
Stepping off the advocacy of health soap box, let’s be real. Let’s talk about that bona fide love for the dill pickle. While dill isn’t a honcho in the nutrient domain, it does provide us with a healthy dose of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Frankly, though, the two of us eat pickles for one reason. We do it for the cream of the crop. We do it all for the vinegar.
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Hummus. It’s a dip, a spread, an appetizer, and it’s from the Levant. The ambiguity surrounding the day of creation doesn’t make it less of a blessed event. Judging by the increasing presence on store shelves and skyrocketing sales, it’s beige color doesn’t fend off our insatiable appetites. The fundamental components haven’t changed much, and our conscience hovers around nil when left to recreating. From modest coriander to the demure “everything bagel” seasoning, hummus provides us with a blank canvas for add-ins and toppings.
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Shakshuka. Shakshouka. Eggs poached in a red sauce of tomatoes and chili peppers. No matter the name or spelling, this Tunisian dish is always worth it. Shakshuka, “all mixed up”, is satisfying for breakfast, light enough for lunch, and suitably savory for dinner. A red sauce bath poaches the eggs to a silky smoothness that begs to be devoured with crispy pita.
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Bloody Mary. A cocktail with a disputable history. A morning potion to cure burning candles at both ends. With prohibition in the past, the Bloody Mary made its way to the
U.S. as a Red Snapper. The tomato and vodka nucleus hasn’t changed, it’s part and parcel. The nitty gritty remains, but we have pinched and dashed all the way to a green tomato bloody with tomatillo and poblano. Creole seasoning in the south, old bay up north, and menus everywhere in between. Menus entirely devoted to an assortment of bloody mary concoctions.
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