Monday, October 13, 2014

Food post but no recipe - just a little adventure discovering Jackfruit?

Thanks for all the comments you left on this.  I added something at the bottom after reading them.  

Wrote this post on August 29th, 2014.

I'm finding, thanks to Gregg, that I have become a little more adventurous in the ways of ethnic food.  With all the traveling he did in the navy he grew to love trying these exotic foods in every country he visited.  I always had very plain tastes as I grew up in a very plain meat and potato family, and my Mom and Dad didn't try garlic in a meal until they were well into their 50's, and even that was by accident. 

When I was single, still living at home and several years before I met Gregg, my parents came home after going to a new Greek restaurant, one of the first in town, and raving about the hamburgers they had just eaten, they were the best they had ever tasted.   

When they walked into our small kitchen and breathed over me, I literally had to back away.  This was absolutely unheard before and there must have been a LOT of garlic in that food and I thought to myself, there is hope for them yet.  Do you ever remember Shirley Valentine?  It is one of my favorite movies.  When Shirley was working in a restaurant in this beautiful little town somewhere in Greece, an older English couple came in and as she rattled off things on the menu, octopus and calamari among them, their look of horror was quite comical and she kindly said, "Egg and chips?"   Her delivery of those lines was excellent and I laughed out loud, because that was my Mum and Dad, God bless their cotton socks.

The only reason I knew what it was when they breathed garlic all over me, is that I had not too long before made a new friend at work who cooked with garlic, and she only had to walk into the office for me to know that something was amiss, but she was always kind enough to warn me when she came through the door.  "Stand by Denise, it'll curl your eyebrows this morning but I've brought lots of peppermints with me" and then she'd laugh out loud.  To be truthful I didn't know what to make of this lady at first but I grew to love her sense of humor, we became fast friends and she always had me laughing out loud.

There was no warning with Mom and Dad, and their look of shock and surprise was very comical when I, with my newly found knowledge, thanks to my friend at work, told them they must have eaten garlic and to ask, no demand, that they go brush or get a peppermint for the love of God! 

You have to understand I was new to all this with my own folks and with me.  Of course, they loved their first taste of garlic, but it was still not something that they would buy for themselves.  

Over the years I have learned to enjoy the taste and cook a lot with that delectable member of the onion family, and many other variety of ethnic foods thanks to dear husband, but it's still an on-going journey with me, even more so since he retired.  He has a very adventurous palate and because of it I am discovering new things all the time, such as......


We have a great Asian food market near our home.  Gregg went a few days ago when we needed an item for a dish I was cooking, and he came back very enthused.  He said you have to come with me next time we need groceries.  That was yesterday. Tomatoes went into our basket along with a Jalapeno pepper, Thai basil, beansprouts, organic milk, a couple of cans of coconut milk and low sodium soy sauce.  We couldn't help but notice that the prices were a lot lower than our regular store.  We found our things relatively quickly but browsed around for at least half an hour to see what else we could find.  

This store is big and they have a lot more items available than we have ever seen, with many other exotic foods that I am not familiar with, but also things I would buy on a regular day.  I guess you could say it was an adventure and I can see us going more regularly from now on, just for the fun of discovering new (to us) items.

I have never seen a jackfruit before and found it fascinating.  They are bigger than I would have thought and there is a real cute picture of a little boy with one.  The fruit looked bigger than he is and a whole lot heavier.  The ones I saw were not nearly as big but big enough, almost two feet long and about a foot in diameter.  

"It is a rich source of complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins like A, C and certain B vitamins, and minerals like calcium, zinc and phosphorus."  That information I found at this website and more info can be read about it here.

I watched several YouTube videos as I was very interested in trying it but puzzled as how you would go about preparing one.  Looking at these at the market, they were way too much for us to buy just for ourselves, even the halved ones.  Maybe there will be smaller pieces in the freezer section.  I didn't think to look this time and I really would like to try it fresh for the first taste.

 If you want to see an amusing video of a lady who cuts through one - eventually and she is a real good sport about putting this video online - you can see it at this link.  Then there is gentleman from the Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida who explains the fruit very well here.  

The seeds can be roasted and eaten like we would a chestnut and I heard many times that it tastes like candy, Juicy Fruit Bubblegum I heard over and over again, but also bananas, pineapple, strawberries.  I guess the only way is to find out for myself, because I don't like the taste of bubblegum anything.  I'm game, however, and one day soon I hope I will be able to try such an interesting fruit.

Here are a few more photos I took at the store.

No I haven’t tried Jackfruit yet.  I am not sure I will as these fruits were just way too much for two people to deal with.  Next time I go to the supermarket I will check out the freezer section to see if there are ‘tiny’ pieces.  
It seems than many of you have never heard of Jackfruit, so I wasn’t the only one this was new to.   Also some of you remarked on how expensive it was.   I wish I could have shown you how very large these were, they were enormous, so I am not surprised at the higher price than say you would pay for a smaller fruit, like a melon for instance. 

I liked the tip Stephanie gave, about eating a clove of garlic as a cold remedy.  I know garlic has a lot of health properties in it.   

Dianne (schmidleysscribblins) asked where I saw it.  The supermarket was called Lotties, and it is Korean. 

I will definitely let you all know if we actually get round to trying one.  It’s been two months and counting and haven’t been back to the store yet.  I haven’t made any ethnic dishes lately and we're overdue.

Some of you said you grew up in plain eating households like me and Valerie made an interesting comment which was very true.  We didn't have access to anything too exotic way back when did we?

I was thinking what my Dad would say if I plonked a Jackfruit on his plate, which would have had to have been the biggest serving platter I could put my hands on, give him a knife and tell him, "Get cracking Dad!"  If he was around today I would probably do just that for the reaction, because Dad had the funniest sense of humor and could always make us laugh.  He would probably say something like, “You’ve got to be bl—dy joking!” and then really get going.

Another Dad story, when he and Mum went to Italy one year, a place they really loved and could not say enough how very beautiful the country was, when I asked him what he thought of the food, he actually wrinkled his nose.  Promise, I am not being insulting about their food, you've just got to know my Dad.  He rolled his eyes and said in a very serious tone, “Well, I got a bit tired of pasta, it was pasta this, and pasta that.  Every time you had something it was always bl—dy pasta!  I was dying for a potato!” at which Mum rolled her eyes because by this time she was starting to get a little more adventurous (Mum actually had a soft-shelled crab sandwich when we took them to Annapolis one year.  Dad just rolled his eyes, wrinkled his nose and had a cheeseburger.)  Whenever he visited us I always made sure I had a 10 lb. bag of potatoes in the pantry, and NO pasta!   And every time I see that one scene in Shirley Valentine, I always remember my Dad and have a chuckle.  Bless him, Gregg and I love Italian food, but for the weeks that he and Mum visited, I didn’t buy one packet of pasta.