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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tico-Tango's Papaya: Food Musings

When my two older children were younger, we would read a book called The Parrot Tico-Tango about a gorgeous but greedy parrot named Tico-Tango.  It's a beautiful book of amazing colors and it's focus is on repetition and it's a little sing-songy.  We loved that book - my daughter memorized all of it (and the passages were very long) so naturally we were so proud. I remember that she once recited it to my mother and step-father and they could not contain their giggles as she repeated the whole story about how Tico-Tango's round-yellow mango was not enough for him...he had to have his friend's fruit...a lemon, a papaya, a green-grape bunch, a date, etc., etc., etc. Only each time he came across something he wanted, he stole it. Eventually his greed got the best of him and all of the fruit he stole fell.

Anyway, the story reminded me of the papaya, of course.  When was the last time you had a papaya?  Do you know what it looks like? How to find a ripe one? And do you know what to do with one?

I read somewhere that babies like the taste of papaya because it is so mild in its flavor and that it's very easy to eat. So off I went to find a ripe papaya.  A ripe papaya's skin is more yellow than it is green. Unlike a melon, you can't really smell a ripe papaya unless it's overripe. Slice it open lengthwise and you uncover hundreds of small black round seeds - just simply scoop them out and the remove the flesh from the skin with a spoon.  It comes out gracefully.  For our little girl, I puree the flesh and she eats it just like that.  It is mild, indeed. It has a melon-like texture but is less sweet than a ripe cantaloupe.  It's less flavorful than that, too.  But it's delightful and if you puree it, you can spread it over grilled fish or use the chunks in a  smoothie.  You can serve it over grilled chicken or even steak or pork! Heck...try it with whatever you like - just the way it is.

"The Parrot Tico-Tango had a round yellow mango when he spied the papaya from his friend Soraya and he knew he had to have it, too, so he swiped it!"

1 comment:

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