Monday, November 28, 2011

still-sound 20. Persimmon

Persimmons in a full moon bowl I recently made.

 Rob works in a hospital in Chinatown and several weeks ago some of his colleagues presented him with persimmons.  I remarked that the gifts were 'most auspicious'.  Auspicious is only a word I use when persimmon also appears in a sentence.  Not really knowing what to do with all of this fruit, Rob baked them into a cake.  He added a large handful of chocolate chips to the batter to make the cake 'more Steve'.  I appreciated this addition.  When I ate the first slice, still warm from the oven, the melted chocolate ran on to the plate. 

Rob made the cake for me to bring to my mother in Arizona.  He didn't come with me so the cake was supposed to take his place.  When she tried it, she claimed that this cake was the 'most delicious cake she's ever had'.  I was pleased that she liked it so much although I remember she said exactly the same thing when we bought her a birthday cake a few years ago from a Korean bakery.  It was the super soft spongy kind that they like in Asia, frosted with sweet cream and covered in fruit.

If we had had more persimmons I would have attempted to make kaki-shibu or persimmon tannin juice.  I learned how it's made by watching my favorite tv program, At Home With Venetia in Kyoto.  Venetia uses the juice to treat the wooden furniture and exterior of her house.  It's a natural insect repellent and waterproofer.  It's also a beautiful dye.  In fact the guys who taught Venetia how to mash the persimmons and squeeze out the juice do so regularly to provide enough dye for their mother to use in her exquisitely patterned fabric work.  As she watched the mashed, unripened persimmons get thrown into a bucket, Venetia asked one of the guys if she could have a taste.  After dipping her finger in the green substance, she admitted with a little smile, 'that doesn't taste very nice at all'.

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