Sunday, November 16, 2008

Give the Girl a Hand..

It's a funny thing, ever since I got a fancy camera, I have unearthed what must have been a life long, latent obsession with hands. I love them. I can't seem to stop taking photos of them, or noticing them or tracing the outline of my own. Even if you don't really think they are, hands are almost as telling as a face. The way a person thinks, loves, feels or fears is all there in the movements of their hands. The way they are held, cusped, clasped, twisted, flailed in an attempt to spin stuck or flowing words about like dashing colours through startled air, the way they reach out, the way they withdraw. They dance us out of our own selves every day, they are so sudden, so confessional, we never have time to think about what our hands are conveying about how we feel. They are our naked selves. 
If I think of all the people I love deeply I can conjure up the image and the nature of their hands in a moment. Dad's are big and warm and stubby and unsure, maybe even a little afraid. Tatsu's are perfectly pale, soft and gentle, unassuming and adorable, with some moral element to them that makes me feel safe when I see them, a purity and a shyness of sorts. Cindy and Candice both have tiny, playful, sparky hands, with intelligent fingers that come off from their knuckles like inspired little punctuation marks of personality. Their hands are girlish in the same way they will always be, no matter how old they grow. Dan has beautiful, elegant and thoughtful hands, they are slow and wise and they know much more than he does. Perie has strong and enduring hands, caring ones. Erin has joyful hands with no real wrist/hand differentiation, they bake lots, wear mittens, knit and make me smile. I have clumsy and friendly hands. I even remember the hands I don't know so well, Travis, one of my chiropractors has quite funny little hands, I am always impressed that they are capable of so much when I look at them. The guy that made my tea this morning, had quick, strong, dark, darting hands. They looked solid and sure., so beautiful, no wonder Costanza was upset when he had no hand! Well, given that my days in the family nest are numbered, I thought it would be nice to enjoy one of the most hallowed little hand dances that I have stood by and watched and loved ever since I was young: Mum deconstructing a blushing pomegranate. Now, now, it doesn't make me a spoilt brat if she still does it for me, it's a lovely past time, one I am going to miss sorely when I move out. It's intrinsically maternal to me. Her hands are so unlike my own I had to get a DNA test, they're beautiful, soft and kind, full of feminine wiles and endlessly, wordlessly patient...which comes in handy for this absolute fucker of a fruit.
Now, I have tried to restrain use of the F word on my keyboard (god knows not from my mouth), but honestly, have you ever tried to take apart one of these things. It's like an epic battle between pith and juicy little jewels of tartsweetspikey flesh, it's a patient task. I have seen ticking bombs dismantled with less effort. That said, trying a real live pomegranate is still something you should do once, if not several times in your life. Pomegranate is one of the latest 'superfoods', which would probably amuse most modern day Greeks and Socrates himself, if we could resurrect him. Pomegranate is a very old school ethnic fruit, if you were a Greek, Lebanese or Italian kid, you probably had these on the kitchen table growing up, on top of the plastic tablecloth. They were part of all 28 of my summers. 

This scarlet mass of a fruit is being sold in health food shops everywhere in pill form, in juice form, in tonic form, in dried berry form. The nutrient content is impressive, but so is the wonderfully maddening taste. Pomegranate is a savoury and a sweet fruit, gloriously confused. What else can go as easily with lamb and tahini as it can with a slow baked tart? It's got a lemonyness to it, a berryness to it, a sharpness and a lushness. It's such a taste of its own, and the texture is gorgeous, it's like a bowl of tart, glistening rubies with a heady crunchsquirt factor. Ideally, the little gems should be redder than you see in these pictures, these pomys were a little on the weaker side.
Pomegranate is lush as it is, eaten from a bowl with a silver spoon or in stickystainedredredred handfuls. I loved the mess this would leave on my face and my tee shirt as a chid, and as a fully grown adult! It's an antioxidant power rush, good for the circulation and serotonin and estrogen receptors, and the season is just cranking up. Which is basically good news for you lethargic, depressed bastards. The colour itself is enough to wake you up and make you want to live again. It's scarlet in shocking. Perhaps a group of us should position ourselves by a Newtown ledge and wait for a goth first year student of philosophy at the University of Sydney to show up, we could unveil a bowl of this Platonic Form of Red in fruit as an attempt to convince them not to do the old jump-o. Pomegranates really are beautiful enough to make you joyful.

But you want more from me than just the 'go eat pomegranate' proviso. So, I have a recipe for you! It's my own proud combination, and I am going to call it:

The How Not to Off Yourself Pommypinemint Frappe:

For this recipe you will require:
1 depressed, thirsty individual with a blender
About 1 cup of pomegranate globs (use pomegranate molasses if you can't find the actual fruit and up the pineapple content)
About 1 cup of ice (crushed/cubed)
About 1 cup of pineapple (yellow and very ripe, please)
A handful of fresh mint leaves (and some basil if you're feeling crazy)
For those who like matters sweetsweetsweet: add some apple juice or honey/brown rice syrup to taste...

Whack it all in your blender and press a button: Yum, Antioxidants on Ice. It's great on a boiling hot day, snaps you back into your senses again. I have also tried a version with pomegranate, pineapple, mint and a little cold jasmine tea, it was beautiful, very exotic and refreshing. A bit of cardamon doesn't go astray either. Get funky with it, add whatever you like, it's hard to make something gross. This frappe is a great way to trick yourself into eating more fruit and given that it retains all of the fiber of the original fruits, it's more sustaining than just a juice.
Don't settle for overpriced, crappy bottled hits of pomegranate. Get the real thing, if you can't cut it yourself, my mum is available for hire, but beware, if you're not married or on your way to being wed, she'll have a thing or two to tell you about life as she loosens your little red goblets of glee. It's still worth it in the sticky end, though.

Love you mum xx


Anonymous said...

I waited...and waited... but no one commented, so I thought I'd share my own pomegranate experience.

When I was a kid, my mum occasionally took my brother and I on walks around the suburbs of the Shire. One particular route she took us on was past a very old pomegranate tree and my brother and I used to collect them off the ground, wrap them up in his shirt, cart them home and spend hours and hours at picking out the little red ruby bits. There is only one thing better than a pomegranate, and that's a free one! To this day I have difficulty handing over cash for something I used to pick up off the ground. As you know, I'm not a juice fan for dental/lack of fibre reasons (it is in fact banned from my fridge along with softdrink), but I'll give this one a go next time a special occasion comes around.

amanda said...

no pride and no shame: youre definitely my kind of girl. i cant believe you were that evil the whole time at school and i never even knew it. check this, i met a girl in year 9 at PLC and she has mrs basford for maths! i cant believe these people still exist!!

on you for banning softdrink, its the devil, juices depending on how theyre done can be okay, if theyre fresh theyre great ways to cleanse your system as get a hit of enzymes, but most people use them as an excuse not to eat the vegies or fruits they come from, if youre having them in addition i think theyre okay.

special occassion is coming up today: i DARE you to get a pomegranate. i reckon youre all talk, shockingly cheapskated and youll never do it unless youre publicly made to. As proof that youve done it ill need a picture of you in the process of eating one and a scan of the receipt!

e said...

Strange timing, I have a pomegranate in my fruit bowl and its been there a week or two ...

amanda said...

the fruit works in strange ways...