Monday, October 14, 2019

kumquat may

Philip Yancey and I share common backgrounds.

Sharing may be too bold. But, at least, they rhyme.

When he was young, growing up in rural Georgia, his family attended a pentecostal church -- a denomination noted for its outward signs of righteousness. To show their devotion to God, his family would read nothing in the newspaper on Sunday except the sports page. They thought they were true sabbath-obeyers -- until they discovered their neighbors did not read anything in the newspaper on Sunday. Their righteousness was replaced with a sense of relative sinfulness.

You do not need to be pentecostal to feel the sting of that story. We all have a tendency to get on our moral high horses about almost every human endeavor. Religion. Politics. Employment. Even where we buy our food.

My essay on the progress of our new Bodega Aurrerá in Jaluco (bodega aurrerá on the horizon) caused an avalanche of comments on the Facebook version of Mexpatriate, ranging from "only buy local" to "mind your own business." Neither of those bumper sticker positions had anything to do with the theme of the essay. But that is often the case with comments. And, as is always the case, when people indulge in rhetorical reductionism, misunderstandings occur as often as at a family picnic.

I ran into one of the "only buy local" cohort on my walk in Melaque. I told her I was a little confused by the phrase. How local must something be before she will buy it? Her answer was that it had to be made or grown in the community.

The restriction was a bit more restrictive than I had imagined. When I asked her if she ever buys anything made somewhere other than Melaque, she chuckled and confessed that most of what she buys was not made locally, but she thinks the idea is a good one. I could feel Philip Yancey smiling somewhere.

I suspect she would approve of my recent acquisition pictured above. Even though kumquats are not a native Mexican fruit (they hail from south Asia), they are grown here for people with a taste for exotica. These came from the garden of my American-Canadian friend Gary.

I guess that is about "buying local" as one can get. Other than the fact the kumquats are a gift. And a very special one.

My taste in fruit is limited. If it is sweet, I will pass it by. If it is tart, it will show up in my cooking. And these kumquats will.

Kumquats combine well with a lot of meats and vegetables. Pork, of course. Kumquats are a great substitute for sour oranges. And with chicken and several serranos and habaneros, they form the perfect foundation for a vegetable stir fry. But my favorite use is to simply pop them in my mouth.

One day we will have a serious discussion here about "buying local" and the economic consequences (positive and negative -- there are both) on the local economy. But today is a day to talk about local treats like kumquats -- and what we are going to have for dinner.

Not tonight, though. Tonight is Canadian Thanksgiving, and I will be joining my further-north expatriates in one of my least favorite meals -- turkey. (In truth, I may just skip eating; instead, I will enjoy the conversation.)

And tomorrow we just may discuss the issues of assimilation, separation, and colonialism that surrounds the celebration of these non-Mexican customs. That should be fun.

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