rambutan 002

Similar to a lychee nut, a rambutan is a pod-shaped fruit that opens to translucent or whitish flesh.  The main difference between a rambutan and a lychee is the fruit’s exterior, which is covered in wiry little bristles.  Apparently the name rambutan is derived from the Malay word rambut, which means hairs. To me, it looks a little like Animal from Sesame Street, but without the face. Which, according to Sam, was scary. 

ME: This is called a rambutan. What does it feel like?

LAUREN: It feels wiry. Kind of prickly.

ME: Let’s shake it, does it make a sound?

LAUREN: Well, yeah, it feels a little like balls shaking around in it.

ME: I wonder if it’s going to be hard to cut.

ME: What’s it going to look like on the inside?

LAUREN: A seed! Orange! No, maybe peach!

ME: It looks like a…..lychee!

SAM: It looks like an egg.

ME: Smells a bit like a lychee.

SAM: It smells like a seed.

ME: We’re going to cut it open a little bit.

LAUREN: I think it’s still going to be white.

LAUREN: It’s not my flavor.

SAM: It’s not my flavor.

ME: Sam, you haven’t tried it yet.

SAM: Yeeeaugh.

ME: Again, Sam, you haven’t tried it yet.

SAM: I’m scared of the spikes.


pepinomelonThere was a lot of talk about skin this week, which truthfully isn’t the most appetizing way to talk about fruit. But I have to agree with the kids – this was definitely one of those fruits where you weren’t sure if you were supposed to eat the skin or not. Kind of like the Cuke-asaurus.  But despite all of the skin confusion and a touch of mealiness, the guys seemed to like it.

And I’ll give her another try based on looks alone. I mean isn’t this really the supermodel of the melon world?  Cantaloupe is so jealous that she’s got that scaly skin and can spread salmonella and listeria like the plague.  Sometimes the world just isn’t fair.

ME: OK, what is this called guys? (No answer)

ME: It’s called a Pepino Melon. What does this look like?

LAUREN: I think it looks like a seed.  A really big seed.

SAM: I think it looks like a big monster.

LAUREN: I think it looks like a potato.

ME: Who wants to touch it?

LAUREN: Me! Hmmm, I feel a little dry spot.

(several minutes go by, with lots of time spent touching the dry spot)

ME: OK, this is taking a long time.

LAUREN: Well, with a little scratch, it feels like a little bit of dirt.

ME: What about you Sam?

SAM: Wet!

LAUREN: That’s because she just washed it Sam.

ME: And who wants to smell it?

LAUREN: Me. It kind of smells like a real lemon.  But it kind of smells a little lighter.

ME: A little lighter than real lemon?

LAUREN: Yeah. Because a real lemon smells really, really strong.

LAUREN: And this lemon has a lighter smell.

LAUREN: I can’t wait to see the inside!

ME: Me too!

LAUREN: Now let’s smell the inside.

LAUREN: Now it smells like the other mystery food before.  I think it was kind of potatoey.

ME: Hm, the sunchoke?

LAUREN: No. It’s like a potato.

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fennelMaybe Lauren has been spending too much time with Ronald McDonald.  That just sounded really creepy.  Let me re-phrase:  Why did Lauren have the word Ronald in her head?  Fennel is not Ronald.  Ronald is not fennel.  Neither is Reynold.  This is slowly turning into a man-walks-into-a-bar type of joke, or a management consulting interview case.  Either way, it’s not working.  But fennel wasn’t a hit.  Maybe because it tasted like Ronald.  That sounded creepier.  You know, I’m going to shut this down because we’re not making any progress here.  We were all smarter before fennel entered the picture.  Too bad, because I really like it.

ME: What’s this called?

SAM: Rugula!

ME: Nope, who else has a guess?

LAUREN: What? Reynold….Ronald…

LAUREN: Reynold Ronald?

ME: No, it’s not a Reynold.

LAUREN: A Ronald?

ME: Nope, Sam?

SAM: Rugala.

ME: It’s called fennel guys.

ME: What do you think it looks like?

SAM: Rugala.

SAM: A dynamite.

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red bananasI hate to say this to the red banana farmers because I don’t want to put them out of business, but I don’t get it.  This red banana thing.  I’m still not clear on why someone would buy them when they’re more expensive, tougher to ripen, and don’t  taste as good as a regular banana.  Chiquita was on to something.  Yellow bananas are the clear victor in the banana wars.  But as we’ve learned in the challenge so far, it’s fun to experiment, and sometimes you’ll find a hidden gem.  Like my favorite to-date, the mangosteen.

LAUREN: What are the 5 senses?

ME: I don’t know. What are they?

SAM: Smell.

ME: Smell, right, what else?

LAUREN: Taste, what it looks like.

ME: Yes, sight.

SAM: Touch.

ME: Yes, right, what’s the last one?

ME: (We all forget this one.) What it sounds like right?

ME: Tell me first what does it look like on the outside?

SAM: Brown bananas.

LAUREN: I think it looks like it’s brown. Like it’s old.

LAUREN: And it has curved branches.

ME: What does it look like on the inside? (Opening) These things took forever to ripen, oh my God. (No joke, I’d tried to open one of the bananas a month before and it was so unripe it was inedible.  Here we were a month later, basically having the same problem, still verging on unripe.  How is this possible?  My yellow bananas develop more freckles and spots than an 80-year old in two days flat.)

ME: Ok, finally open, what does it look like on the inside?

LAUREN: The sun color.

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broccolirabeI don’t think just-picked broccoli rabe should have so many yellow flowers; from my quick web research it seems like flowering broccoli rabe means that it’s older and more bitter.  I didn’t really notice the difference to be honest, broccoli rabe usually tastes bitter to me, flowering or not.  But I like bitter greens.  Surprisingly, Lauren was into it.  Sam loved the fact that he got to say the word rob.  Like the broccoli was being held up at gunpoint and being asked to hand over its purse.  Dinosaurs, muggings, whatever works to get this little guy to eat his veggies.  It all works for me.

ME: What’s this called?

LAUREN: Peppermint stick?

ME: Nope.

LAUREN: Broccoli?

ME: Almost, broccoli……rabe!


ME: Yeah, like I’m going to rob you.

SAM: Don’t say the “rob” word.

ME: Some of the stems are a little woody, OK, but here’s a piece.

ME: What does it look like?

SAM: I want dinner.

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