August 15, 2007
frozen memories, partially thawed
With almost everything available throughout the year in the grocery store these days, I find myself still struggling to reach for fruits that are out of season. Sure, many of them may have flown over from a distant land where they may be "in season", yet more and more home-grown fruits are now found in store completely out of context- I mean, out of season. Getting the first-of-the-season crops has always been a great way of celebrating the arrival of a new season, but too early is too much; things may be different elsewhere, but at least in Japan, apples and Japanese pears shouldn't be around in June, nor grapes in July... and no mandarins in August, no, never. Ever.
As a matter of fact, however, we see all these quite commonly on store shelves. I rarely buy them, but do occasionally - or sometimes I may receive some from someone as a gift. That's how I got these greenhouse-grown, the-sweetest-I-have-ever-tasted mandarins along with other equally succulent and gorgeous fruits carefully packaged in a box. Given the heat that's been on us for the past week or so, I popped some of them into the freezer so we'd eat them frozen in a dreadfully hot afternoon or muggy evening.
Frozen mandarins are something that makes all of us grown-ups weep for joy - well at least those of us who grew up on school meals in Japan. As easy as it is, freezing mandarins somehow isn't what we'd always do at home. It's more of something that you always have away from home (which would usually be either at school as part of school lunch, or on the train for a long-distance travel; these are the two occasions we'd associate frozen mandarins with... that's the way it is, don't ask me why), and you love it, you swear to make your own when you get home, and somehow you never would. At least I never used to do that at home - although others may well be different.
Either way, I don't think I ever had frozen mandarins in the middle of summer as a kid. I can't be 100% sure, but as far as I can remember, we wouldn't even imagine having mandarins other than in the winter. Eating a frozen, only partially thawed icy mandarin in a heated room in the midst of winter would have been what made it so pleasurable, I think. Having one of them at the height of summer is such a treat, and as much as I appreciate the well-considered gift and thoroughly enjoy it, part of me goes... well, what can I say.
Oh, I can say IT'S HOT - maybe the heat has made me go all too mushy.
posted by chika at: 8/15/2007 03:31:00 AM