Burnett: Odor follows discovery of Southeast Asian fruit delicacy

When my good friend Dan Bruce served durian fruit for dessert when we recently dined at his home, I dove right in.

I’m never reluctant to try something new when it comes to food.

So when my good friend Dan Bruce served durian fruit for dessert when we recently dined at his home, I dove right in.

This is a situation when one needed to dive right in because any hesitation will allow the somewhat noxious odor of the fruit to thwart one’s willingness to indulge.

But I must say, I found the taste to be quite pleasant and very unique.

It was the texture, however, that took a little getting used to.

It would not be appropriate to mention some of the unpleasant materials it reminded me, so I will leave it up to your imagination. A hint might be to say it was sort of like slimy custard.

But again, the taste of this fruit was such that I will want to indulge in it again at some point.

My friend purchased the durian fruit from a local supermarket. As I’m not the person in our household who does the grocery shopping, it’s not surprising that I would never have heard of this fruit before.

But after a little research on the Internet, I discovered the durian is the most important native fruit of southeastern Asia and that region’s neighbouring islands.

Otis W. Barrett, a plant explorer who in the 19th century described several tropical fruits, said this of the durian: “The flesh of the common durian has a powerful odor which reminds me of combined cheese, decayed onion and turpentine, or garlic, Limburger cheese and some spicy sort of resin.”

But he added that after  eating a bit of the pulp “the odor is scarcely noticed.”

I must say it is always a pleasure and a privilege dining at Dan’s home, as we can always count on a combined botanical/culinary surprise every time.

•••

Last Sunday, I held a session on pruning in the home garden at Bylands Garden Centre with about 50 enthusiastic gardeners in attendance. I will do it again on March 11, at 1:30  p.m., so mark that date down if you would like to take some of the mystery out of this important gardening procedure.

•••

This week I lost another good friend, Joe Tonhauser, the owner of Knox Mountain Metals since the early 1970s. He passed away on Feb. 28  and it leaves a huge space in many people’s lives.

Joe was smart beyond belief when it comes to mechanical things and what makes them work efficiently and safely. He also was in the recycling business when no one else even new the term.

Most of all he had a cool insightful view on the world around him and cared about his family and friend’s wellbeing.

Knox Mountain Metals is in good hands with Joe’s son Gary and his two young grandsons.

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