Meeting Mamay

I can’t resist new life forms, particularly when they inhabit fruit and vegetable stands.  The other day I wandered into the one in the Stanford shopping center, and spotted a soft, heavy football with a scratchy skin.  It wore a nametag: Mamay.

Hello, Mamay.Mamay

Mamay is a Cuban native weighing two or three pounds, which is a lot of fruit if you don’t like the flavor.  But I did.  It’s a delightfully weird fruit, not super sweet, with the texture of baked sweet potatoes and an overtone of its relative, the sapote (known in India as the chiku.)  It has a giant and very shiny seed (the one in the photo is nearly the length of my hand) which was sprouting merrily inside.  However, I was relieved to read that the seeds don’t necessarily grow true to type, because I’d have felt obligated to put the thing in my garden, and there I would have been, standing on the street giving away three-pound footballs that taste like sapote crossed with sweet potatoes.




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  1. Bob Blocher on July 5, 2015 at 8:48 am

    I recently discovered a singer named Dave Brown.

    He’s from Eastbourne in Sussex. So, I naturally thought of Mary and Sherlock 🙂

    One of his songs titled . . . “The Way the Heart Breaks” . . . is beautifully sad.

  2. Nora on July 5, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Always fun to experience something different – especially food-wise! And as a writer, someday this vegetable may figure into a new Holmes/Russell adventure! I learned something new too – thanks!

  3. Pamela on July 5, 2015 at 11:51 am

    I love discovering new fruits and vegetables. My favorite from a couple of years ago was the winged bean, which is simply a square, elongated green bean, with ruffles at the corners. Tastes exactly like a green bean wearing a tuxedo shirt, and it makes me smile every time I serve them.

    • Laurie King on July 5, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      My step-daughter’s husband did his food science PdD in the winged bean! (which will grow in the tropics unlike many other legumes)

    • TheMadLibrarian on July 10, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      Wing beans (along with several other slightly exotic veggies) feature in pinakbet, a Filipino vegetable stew, and are very tasty.

      The description of mamay sounds like another tropical fruit, the eggfruit, but on steroids. I wonder if they are related.

  4. Merrily Taylor on July 5, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Some day I’ll have to introduce you to my friend Sam, who loves trying out Weird Fruits and Vegetables. He’s brought some things home that I would never have thought were edible. Sometimes the experiment works, sometimes…not.

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