MEDITATIONS ON CRUNCHINESS
I love bananas, and Peru has a number of varieties that were new to me. Taking advantage of the situation, I’ve tried every type of banana I have come across. In doing so, I have found that there are lots of distinctive tastes in the banana family, but I haven’t met one yet that I didn’t like. So, in a short time, I have made a considerable dent in the national banana supply while I’ve been living in Peru.
However, since we humans are fickle, my loyalty has recently waivered and my current favorite fruit is the granadilla, a type of passion fruit. I Like the color and shape of this fruit; it looks like a smooth orangey ball with a stem. What I really like best, though, are the crunchy black seeds. In fact, it is the crunchiness that is my passion right now and bananas, for all their virtues, do not have this quality.
Unfortunately, the seeds that I love in the grenadilla are lodged in a not so attractive glutinous gray mass that has a sweet taste. I enjoy the taste, but I must confess that it is really the crunch that gets me excited.
I notice that people more adept in granadilla eating, the real pros, just rip off a chunk of the hard outer shell , plunge their fingers into the soft white padding and then tip the fruit so that the contents slide into their mouths. This is a little tricky because the mass comes out in unpredictable globs. Being just an amateur in this business, I need to use a spoon to eat this fruit. I try to do this in private in order to avoid any sneering from my more highly skilled family members.
My passion for crunchiness has also stirred my desire for another product that I have seen only in Peru. It comes in little packages that sell for one Sol ( about 35 cents U.S.) at any kiosk. I’m a little mystified by the name of these cookies. For some reason, unknown to me, they are called Chaplin. On the bag is a drawing of the famous actor in his black suit, derby hat and cane.
On the package it also says, “The authentic cookies with our traditional taste.” The bag carries a “made in Peru” logo, urging people to buy Peruvian products. Of course, I am pleased to do that.
With your purchase, you receive approximately twenty hard round disks. They are crunchy, golden and decorated with an imprint of the famous actor. For me, they are extremely addictive. I cannot eat just one. When I buy a package, my hand keeps moving to my mouth in a hypnotic rhythm until they are all gone. A look at the ingredients reveals that it is only wheat flour, sugar and vegetable oil. So it is simply an extremely hard and crisp sugar cookie.
What is not simple for me is to stop eating them.