|I ate jackfruit in Jacksonville, Florida. I bought it in an Asian market and then took it into a Vietnamese restaurant, where they recognized it and everybody smiled and nodded, so I guess it’s a Vietnamese fruit. In many ways it’s similar to durian, with the weird lobey yellow items inside a frightening, huge, spiney pod, but it’s a different pod, bright green instead of brown like durian, and the spines are not as lethal seeming. I guess they’re more like nubs, or nubbins, than spines. And the texture of the part you eat is very different from durian. Not as soft. More juicy than custardy. More structural integrity. Sleek and shiny rather than flabby and noisome (but I mean flabby and noisome in the best way: I like durian a LOT). The most interesting thing about jackfruit is that the lobey yellow things are in a latex matrix, and if you try to just reach in and grab them, the latex gets all over your fingers and you can’t believe how sticky it is. The Vietnamese restauranteurs, when they saw us trying to eat our jackfruit, laughed and then disapeared into the kitchen and came running out with a little dish of vegetable oil. You have to dip your fingers in oil to avoid getting the latex everywhere. So you dip your fingers in oil and then you reach into this thing that looks like yellow innards and you pull out from among these sortof pale butter-colored anenome frond things the yellow lobe things, and you get the seeds out of the lobes and eat the lobes. O boy! They’re great! Like eating flowers. You can get the eviscerated pods frozen in Asian store freezers. I’ve made smoothies with them and they’re okay. I think you can eat the seeds; you boil them or something.|
|A red or purple fruit found growing on beavertail cactus plants. Remove CAREFULLY, roll it around in the sand then skin it with a sharp knife (try not to get stuck by the needles) and slice into disk-shaped sections for eating as a finger food. The purple ones taste like cranberry and the red ones taste like pear. Notes: The juice leaves bright stains. You may want to spit the seeds out. Family gatherings in the outdoors often turn into cactus apple hunts. Kids are always encouraged to help hunt and then eat some. Do not eat more than three at a time. You will get constipated.|
Mashed taro root. Taro (Hawaiians call it kalo) is poisonous in its raw form due to calcium oxalate crystals, so the Polynesians smashed taro into paste. Hawaiians love strong tastes, so the bland, starchy poi is often eaten as part of a full meal to balance and cleanse the palate between dishes. Hawaiians sometimes encourage mainlanders and kids to put sugar and water into it to make it more palatable. Fresh poi should be relatively tasteless, packaged and old poi tends to be slightly tangy. (I’ve tried this. Like unflavored glue. – andreas)
Passed around in a large “salad bowl” for all to share, this drink has a slight numbing effect, if you can get past the taste of wet cement. It is crushed kava root and water, strained which gives it a white, slightly milky appearance. Some say it is a drug, but you would have to drink so much of it to feel an effect past your tongue tingling, that you are probably better off just having a beer. (I couldn’t help but think that maybe some Kool-Aid may spruce it up).