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The Mystery of How Time Slips Away

A TGB READER STORY: Still Life With Banana and Avocado

By Ann Burack-Weiss

Banana. Avocado. The very names exude health. Their shapes and colors so pleasing to the eye.

I felt virtuous as I placed them in the supermarket cart, on the price scanner at check out, pulled them four blocks home in my shopping cart, placed them in a hand-made ceramic bowl and set them on the center of the kitchen counter.

They were ripe and ready. I was not. Firm and vibrant when they entered this room, they lived up to their promise. I did not. They weigh heavily on the mind.

I could make an avocado smoothie. Or a banana bread. Or a lot of other things - each involving additional ingredients that appeal to my appetite no more than these bruised, shriveled specimens sitting before me.

Ah, if I could spirit them across the world - or even down the block – to feed the hungry. But who among the familiar homeless on nearby streets would not be insulted by my donation of a piece of sub-prime fruit. I know that I would.

Removing the evidence of my crime is a surreptitious business – even though no one is watching but the ghosts of my conscience.

Under the eyes of the “starving Armenians” I was urged to remember in my childhood, the billions of hungry people who occupy this planet with me, I place them hastily in the garbage bin, twist the top, and doom them to their fate.

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It's true. I bring nutritious ingredients home with the best of intentions and several days - it's sometimes been weeks (the sweet potatoes had sprouted leaves) - I toss them out.

I agree with you and Harold. My intentions are good while grocery shopping but somehow I lose the mood, and don’t want to bake the banana bread, so be it I toss.

Ouch! Direct hit! At least, I tell myself, my compost pile will be enriched, adding to the nutrition of next spring's greens. Now I buy 2 bananas, 1 avocado, 1 orange. That way, I may be without, but they are usually eaten. But wait! There are those potatoes, sprouting pale green shoots at the back of the vegetable drawer.

Me too.It's finally gotten thru to me that giving into the sales on the fruits and veggies that I like and then wind up throwing some of it out is like tossing out money.

It always makes me smile when I find so many of us are riding in the same boat!

Whenever my parents mentioned those "starving Armenians," I suggested my unwanted food be sent to them. I probably wasn't the only kid who did that.

As for buying fresh produce, I've almost stopped doing so. Too much of it gets thrown out.

And I had thought that I was the only one to do that! I shop with a list & the best of intentions, but I end up throwing too many fruits & vegetables out, past their prime. Like Susan R posted, I’ve stopped buying a lot of fresh things that go bad so quickly.
And I was raised with the “starving Armenians” also. I would gladly have sent them my peas, which I still don’t care for....

I always feel bad for the fruit.

Like I should apologize up front when I put them in my cart. Those poor, fat March strawberries watched me smile at them, symmetrically carve them and their cousins into slices, then nestle them in the freezer to sleep until it was their turn to bathe in cool, organic vanilla yogurt in the middle of August.

I lied to those chubby red friends; they refused to speak to me this past January Sunday when I thawed them out for pancake toppings. They were tired, waterlogged, and weeping red tears as the freezer burn and frost melted in the colander.

I'm a murderer.

Will I strike again this year or can I be stopped?

I certainly can relate.

I feel like an alien! :-)
I'm not a health freak, I don't go to Yoga classes nor ride on an exercise bike for an hour a day and I can't face the idea of green Smoothies BUT...
I need fresh fruit and vegies every day, if there's nothing left in the fruit bowl I feel depressed and have to head to the shop. Most of our fruit and vegies are locally grown and I think that makes a big difference.
I did grow up being made to feel guilty about starving children in Africa but I suspect that the very dead, overcooked vegies Mum dished up wouldn't have helped to nourish them one bit.

Oh, Ann!

What a wry, sly observation on what is clearly an almost universal problem. Thanks of the grins----and the moral support. I now know I am not alone.

Oh yes, we've all been there and you are so eloquent about rotting fruits - a pleasure to read.
I too, was shamed into eating by the vision of starving Armenians. Then one day, still in my teens, I was invited to a party in a lavish apartment full of antiques on Park Avenue - the home of Armenians! The haves and the have-nots are part of every society was the take away lesson.

The poor starving children in China!! Finish your plate! Don't think our folks threw things out. How times have changed.....

Guilty. What more is there to say except that I have tried to stop myself from buying the bananas and avocados and just stick to the frozen dinners. But those avocados sure are pretty in the market. Nice story, Ann.

An interesting post. My father was Armenian – he was admitted to Paris, France, after the genocides in Turkey. My last name ends in “ian” like the Kardashian. Growing up my mum told me to eat and remember the starving Chinese! But frankly, I almost never throw veggies and fruits out. If avocados look ripe I scoop them out and place them in the freezer. I slice the ripe bananas and also place them in the freezer then whirl them in my mixer and they become like a low fat ice cream. The veggies that look past their prime I gather in a large bowl in the fridge and make either soup or broth before they get bad. I have very little garbage. But I am French and I have been brought up to save food and/or cook gourmet food with leftover veggies and so forth. We also have been feeding the hungry in France for a long time. Thirty-five years ago we started Les Restaurants du Coeur (the restaurants of the heart.) They now serve 133.5 million free meals, 51% to poor students. There is also a French law that was passed in 2016 that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food. They can get a $4,500 fine each time they do. Here I have not heard about this type of thing unfortunately, maybe because many people believe that being poor are their own faults. In the US 32% of children live in poverty. Now the Trump administration wants to limit aid to poor and low-income Americans and stop some of the Food Stamps aid. Really?

Can you really freeze avocado? Alors!

Frozen banana is great in smoothies too; the grandkids love them!

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