A diner received third-degree burns in a Florida restaurant two weeks ago when her order of Bananas Foster caught fire.
That's a tragic story, not to be miminized in any way. But one of the main reasons it shocks us is that fruit is not supposed to hurt.
We take fruit for granted in the United States, because we have so much, because it's everywhere, because on its own it's not fattening or interesting enough to count as dessert except, perhaps, at cheerleader camp or in jail. (Come on, even a mango is no Dove Bar.) And yet for that same reason, fruit is a comfort food. It comforts us because it's cheap and easily available and sweeter than, say, tuna or Saltines so, in a pinch or on a camping trip or after a terrible shipwreck, it will do.
Those of us raised on Lemon Coolers and Strawberry Quik and supermarket Granny Smiths can learn, with effort, to find comfort in fruit as it is. Fresh off the branch, fruit was designed to comfort birds and animals at least, whose seed-studded scat sprouts new plants. In this Age of Obesity, I startled myself during a lavish buffet last week at historic Wente Vineyards near San Francisco where, despite pastry chef Leena Hung's heavenly chocolate cake and creamy berry tarts, I was enchanted by platters of simple raw organic fresh summer fruit most of all. Gorging on pink-and-yellow peaches -- velvety, juicy, sweet-tart -- I hoped no one was keeping count.
No comfort yet? Consider fruits from far away, such as these dragonfruit, as seen at the Wicked Spoon restaurant in Las Vegas:
Consider growing your own fruit. Consider foraging. Consider giving fruit another chance to comfort you as it waits for you naked, plain, almost invisible in a crowd, authentically sweet and so easily bruised, like all those would-be lovers you've ignored.
Images courtesy of Kristan Lawson.