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.