Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fruit, Fruit, Fruit!

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.

21 comments:

Esti said...

Wonderful post... Cuando cuentas cosas de tu niñez me hundo en tus palabras y vuela mi imaginación... Me encanta!

Marie Louise said...

What a lovely post - such a wonderful story and sentiment. And your blog is incredible - so many wonderful things. I lived in Europe for ten years and traveled for a living. Spent a lot of time in places like Cannes. I will definitely be back!

Anonymous said...

Places are really the people we meet, but also the food we ate and "didn't" eat....great post, (pardon the pun) but great food for thought....
nancy

Kwana said...

What a lovely post. I never really appreciate fruit like I should but I think because of your beautiful story I won't look at a ripe peach, strawberry or cherry the same way again. Thanks so much.

rohit said...

you are fantastic!!!

a kiss for you, my dear friend!
god bless u dear

pierre said...

J'ai l'eau à la bouche

marie said...

oh i have to go to the market soon!
et your rice sounds delicious! i love rice!

Solange said...

It's amazing that you had that experience, did you go to an international school while there?
your rice recipe sounds very delicious!

have a good evening,

Solange

karina said...

Este post es hermoso!
Imperdible!
Leiste Leyendo a Lolita en Teheran?

thesil said...

Wow!What a fantastic post!You are right, we are lucky to have all the fruits and other food.
I see you has returned from Cannes Festival. Did you enjoyed there?

Mary-Laure said...

ETSI - me encanta cuando escribis en ingles Y es español, porque es asi que hablo!...

MARIE LOUISE - oh your sweet words make me blush! I'd love to hear about your travels.

NANCY B - I very much agree, there is SO MUCH to food, culturally, and it is so intimately connected to our most intense memories and travels...

SOLANGE - I went to a British school in Kenya but then my parents enrolled me in a French school in Baghdad. I hated it...

KARINA - ah, si Lolita En Teheran es un libro precioso, me enloquecio! Es increible leer sobre gente que toma riesgos tan enormes para poder LEER, no? Me quede muy impresionada con la autora y las chicas.

THESIL - it's hard not to enjoy Cannes! I had the best time ever, there...

yasu said...

yes, i love fruits too. hearing your story makes me want to appreciate all the things i have which are often taken for granted.

karina said...

A mi me paso lo mismo con ese libro, hubo un tiempo solo pensaba en eso.
Que placer encontrar a alguien que lea mucho!

Rina said...

Hermoso post! realmente lo que contás es increíble. Estaba viendo lo que comentaban con Karina con respecto al libro de Azar Nafisi, no lo conocía y estuve investigando un poco el libro y me lo quiero comprar, ya me encantó sobre lo que trata. Me encantó esto de llegar a este libro a partir de ese comentario, qué bueno encontrar esto...a mi tambén me fascina la lectura pero muchas veces me cuesta encontrar algo que realmente me atrape o me deje algo. Sin duda voy a leer este libro. Gracias!

Mrs.French said...

Such a lovely story...I agree with you, I am loving the fruit right now so much. I have been all about the strawberries.

A World in a PAN said...

Oh, you bring sun into my Uruguayan Fall! Fruit looks juicy and tasty!

Jill said...

such lovely writing Mary-Laure! i love hearing about your childhood. it's fascinating and you make it come alive with all your wonderful descriptions and details.

enc said...

Beautiful and compelling writing and images.

Fifi Flowers said...

Fruit looks delicious! I have fruits trees in my garden... love fruit! I LOVE your header... ANEMONES are wonderful! This is my first time to your site... it's lovely... I'll be back... Fifi

pve design said...

You know that my father began a fresh market in 1945! We were very lucky to get alot of fresh things or at least things that could not be sold - perhaps a spot or too ripe. I just had my first cavity last year-
so I attribute my good teeth and health to eating lots of fresh veggies and fruit! My Father's business still exists today, thriving!

tangobaby said...

Your life sounds like a beautiful fairy tale. You even make fruit sound like magic!

;-)