June 22, 2006

Fruit Salad

When my kids were little and the weather was hot, I used to forget about making any kind of meal. Instead, I'd get out the cutting board and compost bucket, and stand at the kitchen table chopping up fruit. The kids would cluster around, eating fruit as I worked, smooshing the chunks of watermelon all over their faces and underneath their feet, and by the time I was done, they would be full – and I'd have a container of fruit salad to put in the refrigerator for later. All of us would end up sticky with fruit juice so then we would go outside to the little wading pool, leaving behind a sticky kitchen table that would later attract all kinds of ants.

I never had the patience to supervise a bunch of small children using sharp knives so I did all the cutting up. I can remember thinking, though, of how nice it would be when the kids were old enough to help.

I thought of this the other night as I stood at my kitchen table and cut up fruit: a whole watermelon, several cantaloupes, mangoes, big bags of grapes, several quarts of strawberries, pints of blueberries, pints of raspberries, a dozen kiwi, a pineapple, a bag of cherries, enough fruit to fill a couple of grocery bags. The gang of teenagers who were intently playing music would stop on occasion to wander over and grab some fruit. Teenagers eat more neatly than toddlers but they also eat alarming quantities so I had to chop fruit pretty fast to make any sort of progress. In the end, I was left with one small container of fruit salad.

What I can't figure out is how I somehow went from having toddlers who couldn't use sharp knives to teenagers who are busy jamming with their friends. Surely, there should have been a golden age somewhere in between where my children happily did all the chopping and cutting while I sat in front of the fan with a good book, looking up when they came over to put grapes into my mouth. The funny thing is that I somehow seemed to have missed that stage altogether.

17 comments:

SuzanH said...

Mmmm . . . sounds delicious.

I'm sorry to hear you missed the golden age. I tend to think, though, that it's just a big fat lie.

KLee said...

Mmmmm...fruit salad. Teenagers are like locusts -- they eat EVERYTHING in their paths, which is evidenced by the fact that you cut up a whole farm's worth of fruit to only net a small portion of fruit salad.

Now I'm hungry for strawberries and raspberries...

A. Lin said...

Teenagers eat a lot, I hear. I don't know about that personally yet; however, a 3-year-old hitting a growth spurt can eat a lot, too.

I spend afternoons in summer cutting up fruit, too. Watermelon and cantaloupes are the ones my family loves.

oliviacw said...

Actually, I think that golden age just comes a bit later - around 25. Hang in there!

Sally said...

Ah glad to hear the golden age comes later- like you Jo(e) I wondered if I'[d blinked and missed it. I am amazed you got any fruit for the fridge, my lot ndevour all and then some....

BeachMama said...

Big bowl of fruit. Sounds so yummy. I know the feeling. Although there are only two boys in my house (three if you count Hubby) but they inhale the fruit faster than you can get it into the bowl.

Sometimes I just was it and leave it there in the strainer (the berries, not the melons, those I just slice and wait) over the sink. When they are done, I move in and cut up the rest.

Girl said...

hee hee :)

Chip said...

what's amazing to me is that we have to actually cut up the fruit. If you just have the fruit uncut up on the table they won't eat it, too much trouble I suppose. But once it's cut up, it disappears.

As for getting them to serve us, I think we'll have to wait a few decades for that to kick in...

Yankee T said...

That golden age? A total myth. But I sure love the teenagers.

Rana said...

I do think that the golden age comes later. It wasn't until D. was in grad school that his brother quipped that when he visits his mother, it's _she_ who gets the home-cooked meal.

In any case, he's good about cutting up the fruit for us here. Me, I'm bad at it -- unless I can pick the edibles straight off the plant. Then I go a wee bit nuts. (What do you mean you can't eat that much salad?)

Molly said...

Perhaps your golden age was when you were three, standing at your mother's elbow while she sliced watermelon and slid it into your mouth, juice dripping down your chin, big puddle forming around your feet on her kitchen floor.

Too bad they didn't have seedless varieties back then ;)

Scrivener said...

I don't know about "golden age" but my five-year old Ella cut up all the zucchini, squash, and tomatoes for our dinner on Wednesday night. The only thing she'd let me cut was the garlic, because she figured it was too small for her to cut safely.

KathyR said...

I only recently taught the boy how to work the big chefs knife on vegetables, but he doesn't really get the hang of the rocking motion. He'd much rather hack maniacally with the big sharp knife...

Which may explain why you skipped right over that letting the middle-schoolers chop fruit stage.

Mouse said...

Oh but the golden age is when you're the kid.

I remember fruit salad: apples, grapes, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, pecans, marshmellows, oranges,etc.

I remember the pool water dripping from my nose and hair into salad as I ate.

I remember eating fruit salad, hamburgers with home grown tomatoes, and homemade ice cream the whole summer.

It was great. :)

Yup, the golden age is with the kids.

Deb said...

I missed that stage too. Damn...

chichimama said...

How sad to know that that stage will never come. I've spent the first part of the summer wishing for it. Sigh.

Holly said...

Here via Ben&Birdy... I love this post. Even though you completely shattered my dream of my kid's doing my bidding some day.