Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ode to Guava.

One day in my twenties - after travelling through Europe for a year, I followed my nose from the pavement outside Harrods in London, all the way to the hallowed food hall. I stopped in front of some badly bruised fruit where I stood and wept a little. They were so expensive. And I missed home.

We were staying in a squat in Leytonstone, with an artist who kept strange hours. He was a very nice man, with two dogs he'd rescued from the animal shelter in Battersea. They tore around with their tongues out, forever grateful.
In the back yard there was a very deep hole - an abandoned art installation. Mostly Jesse daubed on large canvasses on the floor.

I decided to cook a big dinner. We happened to be at the Portobello Road market as they were closing and huge boxes of produce were flying though the air at very low prices, along with a good dose of cockney cursing. Mine for a pound, a box of beautiful black eggplant became moussaka. At Sainsbury's I found some canned guavas from Thailand - forty pence a tin.

I served them for dessert, with Bird's custard.
When you grow up eating guavas, you learn to chew them without crunching down on the pips. It's not something you think about.
Jesse's girlfriend - a new arrival from the coast, sat chewing those pips until all the hair stood up on my head. No amount of explaining made an impression.

The next morning she was gone. Skoonveld. Jesse told us that as a matter of principle, she refused to spend another night in the same house as Those South Africans. We had been painted with the broad sweep of a brush as racists. And we ate weird shit.

The tallest man in the world and I have both been under the weather.   We've still to get that holiday feeling. A box of guavas helps. You can smell them from the front door, all sweet and sweaty.


Rosie said...

Yesterday I was at Kingsburg Hospital, and parked right at the back and round the corner down a little alley. There was a guava tree hanging into the parking bay, which I only noticed when three men in construction gear walked past, climbed right in between the car and the tree, and started picking them. I looked up, and they looked at me guiltily. I grinned, and they grinned back. I later saw them walking down the road, eating their guavas. Free, happy food in the most unlikely place.

the sourcerer said...

Lovely! I've climbed many an unclaimed tree myself...

Marie said...

I can smell them.

Sometimes an enterprising supermarket sells them, a plastic clamshell of the small yellow fruit smelling like happy cat pee, and I dive. At gourmet shops they are a dollar a piece.

My father chews the pips, every one. Also grenadillas. It is maddening.