Thursday, January 12, 2012

papa papaya

Colin is working from home today, which meant we both lingered in bed a little longer this morning. He was happy to hold Amelia, while I went into the kitchen to make us coffee and breakfast. I've been ripening a papaya on the counter all week and it finally looked ready (which means it looked and smelled rotten on the outside!).

I look forward to simple kitchen rituals, which I'm quickly learning are few and far between with a newborn on my hands. I relished cutting into the stinky fruit to reveal the honey-tasting orange flesh inside. Perfect! I scooped out the black jelly seeds from the center, peeled off the mottled yellow skin,  cut up the insides into irregular little squares and tossed them into a pretty bowl. Usually I squeeze lime juice on it to bring out the flavors, but we had none in the fridge, so I used lemon juice instead. It still tasted wonderful.

Papayas always remind me of Papa Roger, my grandfather. He was master of knowing exactly how long to ripen them on the counter. Papaya prepared by Papa Roger always tasted good. Come to think of it, he was master of cantaloups too. And avocados.

I don't often buy papayas, but have started the custom of having a ripe papaya on the counter for Christmas breakfast. Just because we're with family and it's nice to honor passed loved ones when we're all together.

This year, I bought the papaya the day before I went into labor with Amelia. One week later the fruit was perfecty ripe. When we cut it up for our Christmas fruit salad, I thought to myself, that papaya has been in this house longer than our baby!

Like I said, I look forward these simple kitchen rituals. It's not really about the papaya, is it? It's about cutting into a piece of fruit, which inspires me to write these words, inspires me to remember my grandfather, inspires me to note a moment in time when our new baby was just one week old—about how long it takes for a just-okay supermarket papaya to ripen into a wonderful little morning treat with my coffee, while Papa gets his quiet time with our little daughter.

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