12 November, 2009

Taste Adventure - Cape Gooseberry

After a very busy morning gluing brown circles to bigger brown circles, building floor puzzles of cats, and dancing to a jazzy version of Spiderman it was time to settle down for snacks. It was our day to volunteer at preschool. As the parent volunteer responsibilities include directing the craft, helping the teacher with all the regular tasks, and cleaning up at the end of the class. Our kid gets to be VIP that day, getting to go first for all activities and bringing something special for show and tell. Oh, and the parent gets the pleasure of bringing a snack.

Now, it should be painfully clear by now that I'm not the apple slice and snack pack kind of mom. I bake cookies and muffins when they ask me to. I don't bring juice for other people's kids. And when it is our turn to bring a snack I think it is a great idea to bring something likely foreign to the average Canadian three year old, like a cape gooseberry. I wonder what the other parents thought when they saw our snack reported on the calendar.

(A total aside, but don't you think having to record you snack is just another form of competitive parenting? Remind me to ask the teacher about that.)

A cape gooseberry isn't a common fruit. I always associate it with hotel fruit trays at meetings. Their distinctive papery coverings serve more as garnish to most of us. But peel that back and taste the sweetly sour fruit with the hint of sunshine. It's kind of like a natural version of sour gummy candy, minus the jelly texture. Personally, I love them. But I wasn't sure about the kids.

I baked cookies as a fall back position.

The cape gooseberries? They went over surprisingly well. In a class of eight kids one outright refused to even have the gooseberry in his bowl, stopping just short of a complete fit over the fact that it even touched his cookies. A couple more sniffed it and merely set it aside. Two more had to be cajoled... er, encouraged to try the fruit. And three happily tried them. One kept asking for more and more, leaving his cookies aside. Way to go kid!

My kid tried hers, declared it too sour, and returned to her cookies.

The kid that loved them?  His dad is a chef.


Anonymous said...

"As the twig is bent, so grows the tree"...your little experiment could almost predict where each of those kids will be in twenty years and what they will be doing. What a range of reactions!

Julia said...

I grew these this summer--we call them husk cherries--and I want maybe ten plants next summer. They are sublime!

acanadianfoodie said...

These are super easy to grow in our climate, and some will go to seed. They will take over your garden if you are not vigilent. I haven't had to buy any for years. Love them. Love them... and the ones I harvest will last for months in the fridge... I just don't have a fridge big enough for them all. Fun reading, as always!

missweb said...

We had a ton this year in our CSA basket. They call them ground cherries (translated from French) here in Qc. My 3 year old LOVES them! I'm with you. Offer something new and the idea of reporting your snack, lame!!!

Julie said...

What a brilliant idea! Andres from More than Mangoes sells paper bags of gooseberries.. I could plow through the whole thing myself. My niece loves to go choose fruit she's never seen before, like passionfruit.. W prefers to stick with his familiar apples and pears.

danamccauley said...

This is fantastic! Research out of the US shows that kids who have experiential contact with unfamiliar fruits and vegetables as part of their school program generally eat more fruit and veggie servings per day.

Keep up the good work!