Sunday, 11 May 2008

Roll over, Marcel Proust

The other day, Lesley and I were eating very delicious fresh fruit salad, largely made up of tropical fruits, and trying not to think about the air miles and carbon footprint this guilty pleasure brought with it. Have you noticed that food guilt has taken over from the time-honoured Jewish or Catholic guilt we were so comfortable with? Combine it with food scares and terrifying health awareness campaigns, and you could, if you stretched the imagination enough, easily starve to death through sheer fear, shame and confusion. Or, if you were drinking the requisite ten gallons of water a day, through not having any room left for something more solid.

Anyway, the fruit salad: as we admiringly singled out the jewel-like pomegranate seeds, we had a small moment of reminiscence, the way ladies of a certain age like to do (though in Britain, 'a certain age' seems to encompass 14 to 104, particularly if you reminisce about food, sweets and toys). Pomegranates weren't that exotic even in the '50s, but had to be approached in a singularly peculiar way. In my family, we believed that the membrane between the sections of seeds was poisonous, which imbued the fruit with a certain thrilling danger but didn't deter us in the least. In Lesley's family, as in many others, pomegranate seeds were picked out using a pin. Now, I ask you! Who thought of that one? A harrassed parent, most likely, looking for a bit of peace and quiet. Next time you have a pomegranate to hand, find a pin, and give it a go. We made our own amusement then, and that
, children, is why television was invented.

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