Tag Archives: food

A Tasting with Thing 3: Dragon Fruit


Last night, we went to Wegman’s for dinner. Each kiddo selected his vittles from the food court buffet.

It was all my fault. I was just there Tuesday and mistakenly bought four bags of sliced turkey breast and two bags of roast beef but no bags of maple ham.

Either way, I had to go back, so I decided to make it all one deal. It being Wednesday, my busiest day, I suggested to my husband that we simply eat there. On Wednesdays I teach yoga to adults in the morning, then come home to sit on my ass fold laundry and tidy up the house and then I teach yoga to children again and then I come home to take Thing 2 to piano & voice and then careen through my ‘hood drive home to pick up Thing 3 for soccer practice. By the time dinner needs to be consumed, I am consumed. So Wednesdays are typically “take out night.”

Yesterday was somewhat of a break due to weather (so no soccer practice for the field was a marsh) and the piano & voice teacher was away. Nonetheless, we can’t let these little conveniences knock us off our imbalance to exist in a chaos-free existence… I had to stick to my guns and not cook.

So we headed into Wegman’s.

There it was:

Dragon Fruit. I do believe in dragons. And these are their eggs.  For if "fruit of thy womb" is referring to a baby, then this is a dragon egg.

Dragon Fruit. I now believe in dragons. And these are their eggs.
For if “fruit of thy womb” is referring to a baby, then this is a dragon egg.

“What the what….?” I asked. I was immediately drawn in, like a zombie to an inorganic rustling. “…Forget the buffet, I want the dragon egg…” 

“Can we get one? Can we get one?” T2 asked.

“But if we get only one and we like it then Mom has to trek all the way out here again to get another one, so we may as well get two.” T1 declared.

“But we don’t even know what it tastes like…” I said.

“It says here, it’s a combination of pineapple and kiwifruit…” T1 said. “We like those; I like pineapple and T2 likes kiwi …”

I’m thinking the back of my mind, “And T3 doesn’t like either of them…”

“But it’s $5.99 a pound. That dragon fruit better be loaded with gold. It’s heavy.” I said.

We selected two. The ones you see above.

Here’s some data from Wikipedia on dragon fruit:


A pitaya or pitahaya is the fruit of several cactus species. “Pitaya” usually refers to fruit of the genus Stenocereus, while “Pitahaya” or “Dragon fruit” always refers to fruit of the genus Hylocereus.


What the what is a hylocereus? “Stenocereus.” Sounds prehistoric.

Professor Jedediah held up the Pitaya, a sunbeam cast its way through the clouds, on to the earth and through the glass of the observatory. The students were enraptured, eyes wide and staring at the ruby, scaled egg-shaped form, a red hue reflects off the fruit onto Jedediah’s face. His mouth agape, drool stemming from his lower lip…

“Behold … pitahyah, not the pitaya from the Hylocerus….”

All eyes and heads turn upward as Jedediah raises the oval form above his head. The light in the room vanishes as the door cracks open.

A man in a dirty shirt, dusty and sweaty leans into the classroom, “No time to argue. Throw me the fruit, I throw you the whip…”

Oh… wait, back up… I see a word I recognize: “cactus.” Got it. No. If we read that again… we’re missing the part when Betsy gets to Chicago on the train heading east. Hylocereus … is that a cactus?


Anyway, we bought them. We didn’t eat any last night; we were too busy having family time in the hot tub. I decided to wait until today. I wasn’t convinced it wouldn’t have hatched overnight.

So Thing 3 and I discussed it this morning.

“You did buy it. I wasn’t sure,” he said.

I asked him if he wanted to try some. “The card near the fruit said it tastes like kiwifruit and pineapple.”

“But I don’t like either of those…” he reminded me.

“Let’s just try it.”

So I cut it open. It’s supple. The skin is dense and soft, like a banana. I was surprised by this.

It sorta looks like kiwi on the inside... in a random, unorganized, unkiwi-like way.  Right?

It sorta looks like kiwi on the inside… in a random, unorganized, unkiwi-like way.

Upon opening it, I found that it’s a very succulent fruit (hence, the cactus part… )

T3 backed up.

“Woah. That’s NOT what I was expecting,” he said.

“What were you expecting?”

“I dunno. Just not that. Maybe something red inside? You know, like strawberries. But they have their seeds on the outside.”

“Do you want to try it? Let’s smell it.” I suggested.

So like a couple of apes encountering a slice of pizza for the first time, I took a slice and sniffed it. I restrained myself from listening to it, rubbing it on my arm, patting it, throwing it on the floor or banging it into the counter.

T3 leaned in,  sniffed and grimaced, a little confused. “It doesn’t really smell like anything. I guess it smells like water.”

So I decided to try some.

Instinctively I decided to not eat the rind, which upon further research turned out to be a good idea because if you eat too much of the rind, your excrement will turn pink. Note to self…

Taste the rind, but don't eat the rind.

Taste the rind, but don’t eat the rind.

It was a very gentle taste. Benign and innocuous almost and T3’s description of “water” wasn’t too far off.

“I don’t taste anything. It’s really mild. I think you should try it…” so he took a bite and as he took his bite, the dragon fruit gave me its bite.

“Oh… It has a little bit of tang … toward the …” I started, as he was chewing on his piece.

“Yeah, it’s when I’m finishing it…” he said, with his mouth turning downward.

“Interestingly enough, that part of your tasting anything is actually called, ‘the finish’; so if you ever hear us talk about wine, juice, coffee, or a new food, sometimes we will say ‘fin–‘…”

His face contorted and he interrupted. “Yeah. That. I do NOT like that tang at the finish.”

Crestfallen, I said, “Ok. Would you like to try it again, now that you know?”

“What part of that tang is pineapple or kiwifruit?” he asked.

“Ummm… both of them…?” I squeaked, smiling with eyebrows raised, vainly hopeful yet acutely aware that any notion of his trying pineapple or kiwifruit as a grown child, not a helpless victim tied down in a high chair was now with the taste of the dragon fruit: toast. I’ve tried for a few years to broaden his fruit options. It happens slowly and usually with his friends or cousins, completely out of my earshot. I sang, “it’s high in fiber and water… I think you’ll come to like it later…”

But at $5.99 a pound, it’s a pricey risk, and I have to learn to be ok with my kid not loving everything I do. I have to be ok with not forcing him to be something he’s simply not.

I didn’t look at the receipt, but those fruit were not light, it’s pretty dense in that scaly red skin.

I don’t know how the older boys will do with it. If tradition holds true and T2 likes it, he’ll eat all of it in one sitting and then spend the rest of the weekend in the bathroom. The placard beside the fruit said that it can be used in quick breads and things of that nature. So maybe I’ll do that.

TIP: I have learned that the action of freezing pineapple removes the tang from the fruit; it’s quite creamy tasting, and my older two love it (but they love pineapple anyway). So if you like pineapple but your kids don’t like the sour aspect of it, slice it up and freeze it by placing the slices on wax paper on top of a cookie sheet or cooking rack and then putting it in your freezer. I usually take those slices and put them in a bag for smoothies.

So that’s it… nothing else to say here about the dragon fruit.

Thank you.

ps – i did remember to get the ham this time.


30 Days of Jung — Day 28: #Lifestyle #Bias #Prejudice #Individualism #Society #Culture #Psychology #Openmind


There is no “one-size fits all” of life.

Welcome to Day 28 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.

If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s a “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.

Here is today’s:

“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.”

C.G. Jung

I tried to find a word for the tagging in this post’s headline that was one word for “open minded” and so I plugged in its opposite, “bias” and then I found its antonym, “impartial” which was fine, but the problem with using that word for me is that it’s already a negative; it’s canceling out its initial meaning, so I won’t use it.

My husband came up with “free” but I can’t use that in a headline; it’s too out of context. Too… free.

I’m sitting here on my deck in the wake of last night’s ruling in the Trayvon Martin case in Florida. I’m not a current-events writer; I don’t see the need to get my undies in a bunch that way, there are always apolitical reasons to get my undies in a bunch… so today’s post will maintain that neutrality.

What I will briefly mention though is something completely banal and unexciting: gun laws.

I do not begrudge anyone for owning a gun, so long as it is legally carried, permitted and all that. I have issues regarding the type of guns that are somehow necessary when we’ve already established our freedom from England, but I don’t bother going into that.

I have friends who hunt. I was listening to a book on CD on our way home, Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup. It’s the personal memoir of a Maine widow whose husband, a Maine State Trooper, was killed while on his way to a call and her fulfillment of his retirement plans to become a minister. She became an ordained minister and chaplain for the Maine Parks and Forest agency. In her book, she talks about the men and women she works with and how they are mostly hunters and how she honors their lifestyle with new eyes because the way they eat, the way they kill deer is humane and cruelty-free in that the deer are free-range, organic, they are not born and raised for slaughter and for processing and pumped full of hormones and medicine; they eat what we provide, leave for them; they run and leap and mate and sleep in nature. When a deer hunter kills, s/he makes use of all of the animal, nothing (or not much) goes to waste and that the natural environmental fauna partakes in the ecological remnants and their circle of life continues with the intervention of man’s skill and weaponry. I emphasized the men and women she works with because I am fully aware that there are people who waste the animals, who kill not with reverence and restraint but with avarice and gluttony. Those are people I am not denying exist, but they are not people I’m going to talk about.

It put everything I’d thought about hunting on its head.

I ate some venison this week. My cousin is a hunter and he gave to us some of his venison as a gesture of gratitude for our hospitality earlier this summer while he was traveling. He killed the deer with a bow and arrow.

My kids were reluctant, “BAMBI?!” they grimaced and groaned.

“Yes, Bambi. Or his dad. Or his mother, cousin, distant relative from New York because I don’t know where Bambi was born, but I think it was California near the Disney studios… but yes, and it’s called ‘venison.’ You will try it because this is one animal that wasn’t raised for slaughter and we will honor it…” I said, smiling wildly and hoping they heard me.

They looked at me like I had three heads.

My cousin gave us the best part, the tenderloin, and on the way home from that trip when he presented it to us with a warm and sincere smile, we all listened to the Kate Braestrup story in the car.

Two days later, I prepared it in a way that I’d never prepared a meat before: with a quiet intention, gratitude for the deer. My knife slices were deliberate and kind. I felt an unusual sensation: a connection, if you will, to the animal. My husband partially softened strip bacon and I wrapped it around each tenderloin medallion, used a toothpick to hold it all together and they were grilled on our Weber out back. I served a salad I make frequently of spinach, red onion, tomatoes, avocado, strawberries, bleu cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.

The food was presented to the children. I have to say that they seemed to eat it differently, with an awareness, a softness I’d not expected.

My eldest had heard about this very recipe that my cousin had prepared for us all a few summers ago and didn’t tell us it was venison until after we’d taken our bites. I didn’t feel betrayed then, because I endeavor to be open-minded and I was his guest and I’d never refuse something that someone so clearly worked hard to prepare and share with us.

We can all go to a butcher, select some NY Strips, put them in some marinade and grill ’em, but what a hunter does, what my cousin did is so different: they set up for a couple hours ahead of the trip, they wait, they take their shot and sometimes they fail, sometimes they don’t on their first shot. Then they have to prepare their kill for transport. It’s hard work; it’s not for the meek and fancy. I honor my cousin and anyone who does this for hobby or sport with the honorable intention of expressing their gratitude and appreciation for the animal they kill.

This is the kind of gun control I can get behind. This lifestyle, of the hunter, is likely not for me. I prefer several degrees of separation between myself and my food, but maybe I should could revisit that mentality; that if I choose to eat an animal, that I should could will consider and express my sincere gratitude for the life it gave for me to live mine.

This isn’t about activism to me; this won’t make me watch “Food Inc” or “Forks Over Knives” any more readily than I would watch “Bowling for Columbine” or “An Inconvenient Truth.” I can’t easily tolerate such parity, but I allow it in others; I would never deign to tell someone else how to live.

I have a strong interest in physical health and mindful eating and exercise. I just do. I have seen what its opposite, mindlessness, does: blown-out tendons, my own calves when I ran too far in new shoes, aching muscles when I lift too much, vitamin deficiency, narrow-mindedness and judgement; then there’s another side of that coin: obesity, health risks, depression, structural breakdown and arthritis pain due to inactivity. There is no RIGHT WAY for anyone, but there has to be SOME WAY for all of us.

Expecting tomorrow to take care of itself and hoping that tomorrow will allow us that 45-minute slice of time to change clothes, lace up, get the water bottle, get the iPod (or whatever it takes, I have lots of gear like that, I love gear), turn on the treadmill or make sure the kids know where I will be and what route I’m taking … all that, takes preparation, but not a lifetime.

All I know is that health is paramount. I see what neglecting health does to all of us. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to go for a walk today or a run or a skate or a stretch: don’t be. Start today.

So yeah, there is no one-size fits all. I don’t tell anyone how to live their lives; I just hope that by doing my best to live mine in a way that works for me that I’ll maybe be inspiring to someone else; and I am always looking out for inspiration from someone else. This yoga retreat coming up is going to rock my world… in so many ways… I know it. I’m a little afraid too. But I do know this: I have my intuition to help me.

Right now, a gentle breeze is passing over my face and I’m listening to Patty Griffin singing “Burgundy Shoes” and she’s at the part (2:00) where she’s echoing herself, “sun … sun … sun … sun …” I can’t help but be inspired by the fact that every moment is a moment to recognize and celebrate our individuality and our commonality.

Thank you.

If You Cut off A Cabbage Head, Does it Not Cry?


I know that eating an entire bowl of Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries was on my list for today. I know it.

I just have to add it.

To the list I haven’t made yet.

Man, I’m gonna bum out on that yoga retreat. I am quite certain that there are less-processed ways to get my less-than one gram of protein and 22 grams of carbs.

Oh God, did I just eat that? I mean, yes, I did. All … say, 250 calories 500 calories (who am I kidding?! No one eats 3/4 cup of the Cap’n with 1/2 cup of skim milk) of it. But I hadn’t had a decent breakfast yet.

The yoga retreat. The one where I’m going to be certified to teach children’s yoga, which is great, but I know I’m in for it on the whole dietary thing.

So I spoke to one of the organizers. They insist that the diet is vegetarian. So I was ok; I asked, “No meat? So fish?”

Yogi: No.

Me: Ok… chicken then?

Yogi: No.

Me: Sigh.

Yogi: crickets. (No, we don’t eat crickets, she gave me crickets on the phone.)

Me: Eggs then? I mean, I have to have some form of non-plant-based protein, I know this about myself; I process vegetables very well. (Don’t ask me about this; I’ll tell you just about anything you want to know about myself, even the TMI stuff, but I stop at metabolic processing.)   Milk? Dairy?

Yogi: No, no eggs. No milk.

Me: (vexed at this point): But eggs aren’t meat. They’re … so this is sounding vegan. Isn’t this vegan?

Yogi: Yes. [pause] I mean, no. It’s vegetarian. [sounding confused herself]

Me: But vegetarian diets include fish and eggs. Milk… I don’t get it. This is vegan. I can do vegan: vegetarian chili, most of  my summer pasta is simply tomato and basil with olive oil (I began to get hungry and immediately wanted to put on my leopard pelt, take off my Nikes and grab a club to kill a rabbit I saw going all vegetarian and whatnot on my vincas); I know that all the soy isn’t good for us: all that estrogen is not so great…  Yogurt? Please… tell me there’s something….

Her pauses were staggered; I could tell by her voice that she was getting confused herself.

Yogi: Yogurt? Uhm… Yes, there is dairy because we have cheese with breakfast and yogurt with our fruit.

Me: Oh thank God! Erm, I mean Shiva! Thank Shiva, right? I was beginning to get a little nervous there.

Yogi: But not honey.

Me: Wha— ?

Yogi: Taking honey is cruel to the bees.

Me: How do we know this? Wait, don’t answer that. I can live without the honey. It’s only 16 days. I don’t eat honey … consciously … anyway.

At this point, I was beginning to feel as though my chances of survival in this yogic environment for 16 days without so much as a mini brie were going to kill me. But I can do mediterranean diets, I can “eat like Jesus” as Thing 2 (who was 9 at the time) once said: olives and feta and hummus and pita wedges. I can totally do that. So I decided that I needed to say something like that, but I didn’t say “Jesus” because I don’t know how they feel about the whole Jesus thing; I’m not a thumper, but I am a Christian.

Yogi:  The honey is controversial. Yes, it’s just 16 days and you will be amazed by how good you feel.

Me: (Yes, I will feel like a freshly RotoRootered house, I’m sure.) Oh, yes. I mean, in the summer, we grill all our vegetables and I eat lots of caprese salads and hummus and pita. So I can totally do this. I don’t eat much steak anymore (lie; I was hacking into a raw porterhouse with a wooden spoon at that very moment); I am sure this isn’t too different from what I do every day (apart from the fact that I have two poached eggs every morning with turkey bacon… ‘controversial honey‘?!). I wonder if eating that way will solve our number-one weight problem: belly fat. I’m just kidding. (Not.)

Yogi: Eating this way will solve lots of problems. It will allow you to be truly authentic in your journey toward greater ahimsa.

Me: Ok! Sounds great.

It's all in how we look at it.

It’s all in how we look at it.

A few days later I was at a Memorial Day event and I was talking about my dilemma over a juicy char-broiled hamburger with a friend. We wracked our meat-addled brains to figure out a way for me to survive, and then she came up with it: beef jerky. If I stow away a couple Slim Jims (not the spicy kind, because I will get the toots from those), I might be able to make it.

I was joking with another friend at the same event over a torture-free, PETA-approved beer, about the assertion that a vegan lifestyle isn’t cruel; “How do we know that when we cut off a cabbage that the root body isn’t saying, ‘WHAT THE HELL FUCK?! YOU JUST CUT OFF MY HEAD!’ How do we know its little cabbage heart or system isn’t freaking out? I mean, when we cut off the head, there goes all its chances for photosynthesis and it dies. We are killing the cabbage.”  This friend grabbed his heart because he was laughing so hard. I think I killed him. Does that mean my jokes must stop?  (I will not eat cabbage…)

When we take an egg from a chicken, the chicken doesn’t die (but the chick inside the egg never gets to live… I get it, lighten up, but hey, I was born with 200 million eggs, and they’re mostly done being of any value to me, so … no, you can’t eat my eggs, but if you were as twisted and desperate as I am in this context you would be able to see my point of view, I’m quite sure).

So in less than 60 days I will be on a shuttle van from an airport near my home to ride about an hour and change away to a retreat center in the fantastic Virginia Blue Ridge mountains. I am committed to this. I could bring my own car, but I won’t. I want to be just as desperate and vulnerable and insecure optimistic, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as anyone else coming to the retreat from far-flung places; and I am absolutely excited about that part. If I’m going to do this, I have to do it right.

Back to the initial phone call with the registrar.

Another option, to reduce some of the costs for food and lodging was to bring my own tent and sleep in it. That might work, actually, says my inner Snidely Whiplash… that way I could bring whatever I wanted; a side of beef, and NO bears would be the remotest bit curious. 

Yogi: you can save money on the lodging if you decide to camp on the grounds.

Me: Camp? As I look around at my new hot tub and patent-leather (I mean naugahyde — which reminds me: bring only cotton and rubber clothing) sandals. You mean, in a tent? I can’t … I stifle my laughter.

Yogi: [laughing herself] Yes, you would bring your own tent and sleep in it.

Me: In the Blue Ridge Mountains? Where there is basically no development, thank God because it’s beautiful, but it’s wild. There are snakes and stuff… And if I have to visit the ‘loo from time to time, thanks to the all-vegan, no, sorry, mostly vegan diet… I think I’ll sleep in the cabin. Does it have air conditioning? I’m from  Virginia; where I live is basically a swamp. The summers here are brutal, so I know what it can be like here.

Yogi: Yes [giggling], there is air conditioning. And you will have a roommate; so that helps defray the costs of the lodging.

A roommate? Did I ever tell you I’d never gone away to college? That I went to a commuter school? And that the last day I’d lived at home was the day before my wedding? Phhhh boy. I’m good. I’ve got this.

We had a few more laughs; she told me about someone in previous years who wanted to camp out but ended up coming in. I am trying to not be too insecure and feel like a failure already before I even leave my house for this endeavor because I’m not a hippie. I wear a watch, I have a refrigerator. She used a phone to call me. We used the Internet to register me for the classes using my credit card to take the payment. I have to remember that there is balance in the world and that my way of living is not to be judged by anyone. But it will be hard… I don’t beat my dirty clothes against a rock by a river stream to get them clean.

Speaking of laundry, I have prepared my children tactically at least for one major change in their lifestyles: I will no longer be doing their laundry after the last day of school. They will do their own and they will wear lumpy clothes or unlumpy clothes. The fact of the matter (I love that phrase) is that they are 15, 12 and 9. They can do this. They can help each other. I will be away for 16 days eating grass and tree bark. They can do their own laundry.

I know this: I will bring along a box of Crunch Berries.

Will I be able to blog from there? Good God I hope so.  Now I’ve gotta go find that list…

Thank you.

homage to the microwave


here’s just a little something i cooked up a moment ago when the spirit hit me…

hello dearest beeper, it is me looking dour
for the children are hungry, it’s near the six o’clock hour
i have a menu planned out, ’tis true, yes ’tis true
but i forget that i made it, and there’s no time for stew
i think and i think but no vittles come to mind
so i freak and i dash to the basement to find
what’s in the freezer? what might save my ass?
is it some chicken? a meatloaf? o dear, the sea bass?
but as i dig deeper and deeper, lo behold holy moley
it’s a bag, a big one! full of four-cheese ravioli!
quick! dash back up the stairs, for it’s almost sunset
dump it into the crockpot, ’tis no time to fret
crockpot?? shmockpot! o! what am i thinking?!
i’ve no time for hi or lo: time’s on the brinking!
use the pot nonetheless, press the button: “defrost”
close the door, say a prayer, we will eat at all costs
eight minutes later, dinner’s ready, thank God
for i very almost blew it, we nearly ate cod.

© molly field 2013