Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hate Is a Strong Word

Papaya. I hate it.

I know, I know. It's just a fruit. It doesn't bite, explode or kill people. YET.

You see, before I met a papaya, I would have thought that any fruit to cross my path was cool by me. I love fruit, and have been known to eat copious amounts of the stuff whenever I can. In pies, on plates, in soups or salads, hell, even in a grocery store aisle. Fruit and me are tight. We go waaaay back.

So why am I so down on the lowly papaya? Well, to start, it smells like bum. WAIT. I take that back. Like bum and feet. WAIT. Bum, feet, and rotten food. With vinegar. And it doesn't taste any better, either.

I don't remember when my dislike for papaya started, but it might have happened when my dad came back from a trip to Brazil. He had been wooed by the nasty papaya for weeks, and insisted on eating the stuff when he returned home. He started buying papayas by the crate. I inquired politely what papaya tasted like. He said, "Mangoes!" I happily dug in, since my love for mangoes is not far off from my love for chocolate and tea.

Puke. Papayas don't taste like heavenly mangoes, dad. They taste a lot like bum, if I were ever to taste such a thing. I was horrified and quickly spat it out.

I avoided papayas for years, and nearly forgot how much I hated them. Then I went to Colombia, where on my second day, they served me a plate of papaya first thing in the morning. Now, it had been a while since my last encounter with the stuff. I loathed the idea of explaining in broken Spanish that I didn't want to eat their kind offer of breakfast. I tried a bite.

Puke. Papaya doesn't taste like breakfast at all. It tastes like bum.

So, and this is no exaggeration, I excused myself to go to the bathroom, and brought the plate in with me while everyone else was in the kitchen. I wrapped each piece of papaya in toilet paper and put it in the garbage. I snuck back out and pretended like the papaya was so good that I had eaten it all. Even, mysteriously, the skins. Then I asked if I could try out their mango, and nobody suspected a thing.

I'm telling you this because I am relatively sure that none of my friends in Colombia read this blog. If you do, friends, I'm sorry. Papaya makes me want to wretch.

I had forgotten this entire saga until this morning, when I opened the fridge door to the most putrid rotting smell I had ever encountered. I gagged. I quickly scanned the fridge for the culprit: is it month-old stir fry? stew from last year? fermented juice?

It was a goddamn fresh papaya, sitting in the middle of my nice, innocent groceries. I'm not opening the fridge again until somebody eats that thing.


1 comment:

Marie-Adèle said...

That's funny, if anyone asked me to describe papaya, I'd say it's pretty bland. I guess because the first time I had any, it was in Guatemala, for breakfast, along with orgasmically-delicious fresh pineapple. I guess anything would have tasted bland beside that pineapple, but my first opinion about papaya has not been altered by further eating.

Mango, on the other hand, smells almost foul to me, especially when it's getting a little to ripe. Love to eat it, though.