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.
Although not originating in Vietnam, peppercorns gave the title of “Heavyweight Peppercorn Exporter” to the country several years ago. Deriving its heat from a chemical known as piperine, the black peppercorn, devoid of its dark casing, results in a white peppercorn. This process, which I surely trivialized above, produces a peppercorn fitted for many dishes in your kitchen. Lacking in color yet rich in nectarous heat, it brings the spice without the familiar appearance. If it’s good enough for Julia Child, it’s good enough for me.
We all do it. We’ve all been doing it for years. Continent after continent, you’ll be hard pressed to find a cuisine without a spice mix. (Sorry to disappoint you on the “doing it”. I’m confident there’s another blog for that.) Jerk seasoning, pickling mixes, Curry, Za’atar, and Chinese five spice are common staples in kitchens around the globe. Ask anyone living a heavy to exclusive plant based lifestyle, though, and they are well-versed when Garam Masala is mentioned. Originating in India, Garam Masala is a body warming blend of spices. Ayurvedically, a mingling of spices meant to warm you from the inside. Additions vary by region, but an anchor of cinnamon, black peppercorns, clove, cardamom, and cumin are customary.
Fruit is a habit in our house. Along with smashed avocado on sprouted bread and energizing oat balls, fruit has a way of making its way into the weekly breakfast lineup. Perhaps that is why when Summertime rolls around, we need something to give our fruit salad some oomph. Feel-good spices season ripe strawberries exuding their juices, slightly tart blueberries and kiwi, a downy mango and cantaloupe, and toothsome grapes. All wading in a light, minty syrup.