An Entry to Lasang Pinoy 10 – Food Memories from your Childhood hosted by Buhay Cucinero.
I did try thinking about other food memories from my childhood but couldn’t single out another one that could trigger more fond memories than those I’ve already written months ago in a meme with the same theme.
My dad, who has such a green thumb, planted lots of fruit-bearing trees around our home that one may get lost finding it. Star apples, coconut trees (including macapuno, freak coconut full of soft meat), chico, santol, mangoes, papaya, guyabano or soursop, atis or sugar-apple, banana (finger-like senoritas & cooking variety saba), guava, & even kamias or bilimbi.Source: Childhood Food Memories
So let me just do a list and elaborate more on how I remember these fruits. . .
I would normally bring a plastic bag with me, climb the tree and pick the fruits. After harvesting a bagful, I’d make myself comfortable standing on a branch and leaning on the trunk, pick a fruit for myself and eat it right then and there. Cut it cross-wise and see why it is called star apple. How do you eat one? It can be done by pressing the fruit to open. Of course, juices will fall through your fingers and from your lips but that maybe the best part of it.
This is how I perfected my pull-ups with 360s using a branch from a chico tree! I did that since I was about 4 until the time I was taller than the height of the branch itself and broke it eventually. Eating the fruit is so easy. Just gently press it to open and bite unto it. Don’t eat the skin and the seeds.
Check out Kai’s blog on how to eat a ripe mango. Unripe mangoes, of course, are best eaten with alamang (shrimp paste).
I remember one summer when it was still safe to leave kids home alone while parents work all day. We were given one important rule: never leave home and play with the neighbors. With that we played at home to our hearts’ content. It was during those days when I couldn’t bear watching my siblings running on the roof of our house (it was a split-level bungalow) until I couldn’t take it any longer I asked them to show me how to climb the mango tree and join them. I maybe about 6 or 7 years old. It was so terrifying but I did manage to make it – a foot on a branch, a hand grabbing another one. . .
. . . An hour earlier than usual, my brother saw a figure a block away and shouted: Ayan na si Mommy! (Mommy’s here!) With that they both climbed down the mango tree. I was left there afraid to be found crying up on the roof and all alone. My bro instructed me to go to the lower half of the gable roof that’s concealed from my mom’s view. Silently as possible I slid down from a papaya tree! Imagine the bruises on the inside of my thighs.
As dessert, papaya of course is best served cold.
Guava and Coconut Trees
Like I said in the meme I remember those times when we didn’t have to buy macapuno from the grocery stores but find them occupying most of the kitchen shelves, the majority of containers untouched. With the abundance of fruits in the house, Dad – being a wonderful cook – made guava & macapuno jams for us & brought some to their offices to sell to their friends.
Though not a favorite of mine I had my share of eating guava that some variety can be as hard as stone a kid may break a baby tooth and when overripe a worm or two may be seen wriggling from a not-so-obvious hole. Another reason why I don’t like eating fresh guavas. . . the seeds get into your molars. Nonetheless, we eat them up on the roof. And nope, I never climb a coconut tree.
Nothing much to say about it as I am not so fond of too sour fruits. Given a seed to suck I tried looking at my reflection in a mirror and saw my face in its ugliest form. I even swallowed a seed accidentally. Santol though is my sister’s favorite. She eats them with a dash of salt.
Guyabano juice! That’s how I remember this fruit though we also eat them as it is.
So sweet and tasty, ripe atis is also not a favorite as I am so lazy splitting its flesh while inside my mouth to take off the seeds and spit them out.
Turon, maruya, banana-Q, fruit salad, saging con yelo, banana split, let me count the ways. . .
Is this a fruit? Most of the time kamias were dried for days under the sun and stored to be used to cook dishes such as sinaing na tulingan though there were more than a dozen times when we would all hang out in the garden sinking our teeth into salt-sprinkled kamias.
On Sundays we usually go out around our area for a walk with Dad. Here’s where we tried wild fruits such as kamachile and aratilis. Kamachile is a huge tree with green fruits similar to snow peas. Well that’s how I remember them. Inside of it is white – not sweet, not bitter, a bit bland but we kids were adventurous to try them. Aratilis on the other hand is what I call the Philippine cherry – red skin that’s easy to burst with juices and inside is sweet with an unusual texture.
By the way, my sketch shows only the fruit trees but not the various tropical plants and flowers around the place. Ever tried sipping nectar from santan flowers?