I’ve created some tension in my house because I am storing durian in the fridge.
For those of you not familiar with durian, it just stinks. Of durian, Anthony Bourdain has remarked that after eating, “your breath will smell as if you’d been french kissing your dead grandmother.” In Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia, durians are banned from being brought into enclosed public spaces. However, they are also praised as “the king of fruits” in that same part of the world. Here in the West, they are a lightning rod of controversy. As far as I can tell, most people in this country are thoroughly disgusted by the durian before they even taste it. Even then, they are likely not to come back for a second bite. Now, I sought out durian a few years back after reading about it in some Asian cookbooks, which sung its praises. I find it quite delicious, addictive even – but I do not deny that it is pungent – and funky tasting – as hell. After several unsuccessful attempts to turn people on to durian, I have come to the realization that most people are happier not to have me serve it to them. So I am forced to enjoy it in solitude, sitting and eating it in the backyard because my wife does not want it in the house.
Next up: I am keen to find some interesting new recipes, beyond custard, smoothies and cheesecakes. Durian cake intrigues me but my wife will never forgive me if I fill the house with the smell of cooked durian, so that will have to wait. I’m also curious about durian pairings. We all know that prosciutto and melon pair well together, but what on earth pairs with durian? I feel like there is lots of new culinary ground to be broken with durian, once you have gotten past creamy desserts. I’m just sorry I can’t get more people enthusiastic about this particular journey – but, as the Grateful Dead sang: if I go, no one may follow, that path is for my steps alone.