Monday, August 8, 2011

Getting To Know Rambutan

In the 1952 movie 'Pat and Mike' Spencer Tracy's Mike Conovan says of Katharine Hepburn's Pat Pemberton, "Not much meat on her, but what's there is cherce."
Hold that thought.
Looking over the organic produce in the Ralph's supermarket yesterday, I stood in wide-mouth, drop-jawed horror at a pile of something I immediately decided could only be from outer space.  And if not from actual outer space then certainly from a Kurt Vonnegut novel.
Over coming all sorts of primal fears, I not only touched one of the things, I held it in my hand.  I even carried it to another part of the produce department for a brief show and tell moment.  Then, I bee-lined it back to the produce bin to return it to its friends.
I still don't believe it was a fruit but the signs said it was Rambutan.  Or maybe those were name tags.
A summary of my research, skimpy I must admit, will tie this beautifully back to the Spencer Tracy quote.
By the way, if you doubt any of the information I'm about to submit for your consideration, I refer you to Yeah, really.  It has its own web site.
The rambutan is an exotic fruit from south east Asia.  Okay.  So far so good.  The web site tells us right away that the spines of the rambutan pose no threat and can be bitten into but never eaten.  Possibly no threat is posed because anyone fool hardy enough to eat the spiny rind deserves what they get.
But there's more.
Once the rind is pulled back (or apparently bitten back) a white ball shaped thing is exposed which is the fruit of the rambutan.  However, we are warned, there is also a seed hidden inside which should not be eaten because it is very bitter.  Apparently all of this boils down to a fruit about the size of a pea.  Getting to the pea takes some effort and involves dealing with the lethal looking but alleged harmless spines but is, according to the web site, well worth the effort because nothing in the world tastes quite as good as a rambutan.
Which brings us full circle to the Spencer Tracy quote.
I don't believe any of it, though.  My vote is that the Ralph's grocery store was invaded by creatures from outer space and that Kurt Vonnegut already wrote about it years ago.


Anonymous said...

Does that sign read $5.99? For those weird-looking things that have one bite of fruit in them? How about some plums instead?

Tom Walker said...

Thank you for this instructive article. I'd never heard of a rambutan before, but I know for sure now that I never want to eat one.