Together with peonies, fruit are the best part of spring, like a fragrant and colorful blessing.
When I indulge in this delight, I always think of the years I spent in Iraq as a child. I was 5 when my family moved there away from bountiful Kenya; the country was at war with Iran and food was scarce. We were immensely more privileged than most Iraqis: we never went hungry. Our wonderful driver would go to secret places at dawn to procure eggs, and we kept huge quantities of sugar and flour in the house, stashed away from the rats in metal barrels; my family could afford local chickens and pastries. Ever resourceful, my mum managed to throw fabulous dinner parties and to bake the best cakes ever for our birthdays; her Syrian friend Amal, who taught her about Arab poetry, also showed her how to make Syrian rice with raisins and pine-nuts, a recipe I cherish and make to this day.
Oranges and soft, candy-like dates were available but other than that, fruit was rare; Iraq is, after all, a desert. While some people around me had dreams of French cold cuts and cheese, my main longing was for fruit. How I yearned for a simple, fresh, juicy apple! Every time I go to shop for food I remember how lucky I am, and never more so than when I am biting into a piece of fresh spring fruit.