Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Year of the Kumquat

The first time that I ate a kumquat, I was in the third grade. My teacher brought in a basket full of what looked like tiny little oranges. "Have some," she said. "You can eat the whole thing." This blew our minds. YOU CAN EAT THE SKIN OF THE BABY ORANGES!?! BUT YOU CAN'T EAT THE SKIN OF THE BIG ORANGES!! She explained the difference in taste between kumquats and oranges. To me, though, the only selling point worth mentioning was that you could eat the skin. YOU CAN EAT THE SKIN! I would later scream at my newborn sister.

Having somehow misplaced a startling number of brain cells in the intervening 17 years, I remember relatively little about being 8 years old. As it turns out, 1990 was the year that the Soviet Union collapsed, the year Nelson Mandela was released from prison, the year the Gulf War began, and the year my sister was born. And while I have faint, spotty memories of all of these events, the kumquats are vivid.

You know what though? I don't think I've eaten a kumquat since then. So today when someone at work brought me a bag from their tree, I was immediately nostalgic, and was immediately scheming about what to do with them.

Ultimately, I decided to candy them and save them for later. I think they'll make a really fancy and impressive addition to pancakes or ice cream or oh my gosh, bittersweet chocolate mousse? Or hey, HEY NOW...with vodka! Did you know that YOU CAN EAT THE SKINS?!