The Grocery Ninja leaves no aisle unexplored, no jar unopened, no produce untasted. Creep along with her below, and read her past market missions here.
But this appreciation for flavor contrasts got me thinking about other unlikely culinary marriageslike watermelon and salt. I've been told "it's a Southern thing" to sprinkle just a pinch on the juicy, red fruit. The slight briny contrast makes the watermelon taste all the sweeter, and to my mind, might be just the perfect way to rehydrate and replenish lost electrolytes on a hot and muggy daya coloring-free, all-natural, and much more cost-effective form of sports drink, maybe?
Beyond, the "Southern thing," watermelon with feta cheese and mint is a staple in the Mediterranean, and some of my Indian colleagues profess a love for pairing it with pickled onions. In Spain, there's melon and jamóna close cousin to the melon and proscuitto of Italy. Not forgetting the salt, freshly squeezed lime, and chili powder treatment it gets in Mexico.
This tangent then had me reminiscing about the dark soy sauce, granulated sugar, and freshly minced bird's-eye chili concoction that we dunk pineapple and jambu (water apple) slices into back home in Southeast Asia. Which then got me running to the care package Grandma sent to see if there was something I might have missed. And, sure enough:
Sour plum powder! It looks like gritty, ground pepper, but it's simply the same sour plums I wrote about last week, ground to dust. This is probably the number one weapon parents in Asia have against picky kids who refuse to eat their fruit. Sweet, salty, and tangy, with the barest hint of liquorice, it's kinda like Pop Rocks but without the fizz. Back home, we dip slices of guava, unripe green mango, Asian pear, and even jicama into this stuff, and kids love it. Almost every elementary school canteen will have a stall selling cut fruit, with squeeze bottles of it for liberal sprinkling.
Since I've rediscovered it, I've been using it to salvage the bland supermarket apples one of the housemates brought home and which everyone has steered clear of. I introduced the plum powder to the Russian housemate the other night and the apples are gone now, however.
For those who are interested, you can usually find this in Asian groceries on the same wall that's dedicated to sour plums and preserved tidbits. But if you live in Providence, you might want to wait awhilebetween my housemates and me, we've probably cleared the shelves!
How do you guys eat your fruit? Were there any "tricks" (like strawberries and sugared cream or molten chocolate) that your parents resorted to to ensure you got your daily roughage?
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