Sunday, March 23, 2008

Papaya Passion

I absolutely LOVE papaya, which is ironic, because I don't live where they grow, and the quality of the papayas I have available is third rate at best. I always joke that it's a race to see if the papayas I buy will ripen or rot.

I get the big Maradol papayas imported from Mexico for 99 cents a pound at the Mexican fruit markets in a nearby city. The Hawaiian papayas cost at least $2.50 each (about a lb.) and they are usually poor quality. I love this little place called Mi Dos Patrias (My Two Countries), a little convenience store-sized market with narrow aisles and great big pinatas hanging from the ceiling. Not so nice is the stink of the carniceria in back! I go in and buy all of their papayas, usually 30-40 lbs. worth. They must wonder who this crazy lady that shows up every couple of weeks and wipes out their papaya supplies.

I didn't grow up eating papaya, and I don't remember the first time I tried it, but it was college or after, during the period when I had started experimenting with food beyond the fare I grew up with.

A funny papaya story. I gave birth to my youngest child at home with my husband and two female friends. I had some ripe papaya in the house. About two hours after the baby was born, at sunrise, I was suddenly ravenous! I told my husband to go and cut up papaya for us all to have for breakfast.

Both my friends, who were pretty with-it hip kinda girls, admitted that they had never tried papaya. I was shocked! But thrilled, as well, because now I could offer them this special food on this special occasion. It was a ripe, sweet and juicy papaya. In my ravenous, oxytocin-drenched state, it was the best food I had ever tasted. Imagine my surprise when they both hated it. My one friend said, "Will you be offended if I spit this out?" LOL! I wasn't offended, I was just unable to comprehend that anyone wouldn't enjoy this delicacy. However, I was more than happy to eat all of their papaya after I finished mine.

Someday, I will eat tree-ripened papaya under the warm tropical sun and I will celebrate birth with each bite!


Sarah said...

I've just developed a love for this tropical fruit. Oh, how I would love to be sitting under a papaya tree in the tropics (with a mango tree nearby of course).


Queen B said...

I learned to love papaya in India! They eat it with salt and lime juice! Yum Yum Yum! Too bad you ladies don't live in Florida because we give away all of the baby papaya trees that volunteer to grow out of our compost pile... We have about 15 bearing papaya trees in our yard right now. The squirrels get about half of the ripe ones but we still have plenty to eat for ourselves. Happy Spring!

Sarah said...

I love papaya too! It's a periodic craving for me, though. I eat it with lime juice (growing up). :)

Lannette said...

Another papaya lover. The big ones or the small ones. Our market gets them year round but this time of year they are green rocks that swiftly go from unripe to rotten. It's still very hard to resist buying them when I see them sitting there.


ramona said...

a lovely story. i love papaya, too. during my pregnancy i suddently had this craving for papaya. i also dream of having papaya after birth. somehow it seems to be connected. let's see if i can get a papaya when giving birth in may :-)

Anonymous said...

you should give them papaya with some lemon! lol