May 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

On the holiday of Tu B’Shvat, which is a celebration of trees and nature, there is a custom of eating different types of fruit. It is not a law, regulation, ordinance or rule but it is a lovely tradition, especially for the fruitarians among us.

There are other Jewish holidays that either by law or custom involve the eating certain edible items or require dining under certain situations. For example, Passover requires matzah consumption and chametz avoidance. Sukkot requires eating in a Sukkah and Shavuot calls for fleishig avoidance. Purim means we get hungry for hamantashen and Chanukah means lunching on latkes and savoring some sufganiyot. One way or another, food takes a central role on most holidays, thus turning festivals into “feast“ivals.

Some scholars insist that in order to fully practice the Tu B’Shvat custom, one must eat at least thirty (30) species of fruit. That sounds like an awful lot of fructose, glucose, sucrose and bloating but it arguably is better than having to guzzle thirty different types of schmaltz.

In honor of the recently-celebrated Tu B’Shvat holiday—and especially for those who did not meet fruit ingestion thresholds—here is a fictional tale loaded with well over 40 fruit-related references, some perfectly obvious and others perhaps not. See if you can find them all. (Note: There are several intentional misspellings below in order to squeeze in some of the fruit references, so put your proofreading pen away and relax. And for those playing at home, and at article’s end you’ll find a listing of the answers.)

* * * *

This was Deborah first time in the Big Apple and she could not have been more excited. Growing up in Orange County, California, New York City was merely a figment of her imagination, a place she visited only in her dreams. Dancing was her passion and she was determined to become a star on Broadway.

She had this date circled on her calendar but her first audition did not go as planned. She hailed a taxi cab driven by Jack Durian that turned out to be a real lemon so she had to walk twenty blocks just to make it on time. There were many talented dancers auditioning that day including Clementine Berry, a true Georgia peach from Atlanta with immense talent and Lychee Linn, a appeeling Chinese ballerina who spoke only Mandarin and dance and whose performance gave everyone goosebumps. Unfortunately, Deborah was not called back and was feeling blue and meloncholy but she was not about to cry sour grapes. She had thick skin and plenty of aplumb and she was determined to sucseed.

Undaunted and unfazed, Deborah sought out other auditions but appearently she had mistimed her hunt. She then got a text on her Blackberry asking her to call home immediately. With a pit in her stomach, she did and learned that her citrus-obsessed sister, Tangerina, had been diagnosed with Lime Disease. Deborah told her flesh and blood that she would give up her dream and return home but Tangerina refused the offer: “Honey, do what you were born to do. Keep chasing your dream!”

Desperate times called for desperate measures so Deborah decided that she was switching gears and going etrogue. But first she went to visit her 1970’s-obsessed and sometimes cranky grandmother, Granny Smith, an elder with a raspy voice who lived in the city in an apartment filled with guava lamps. They chatted about currant events but then shifted to Deborah’s plight.

In a fortunate turn of events, which Deborah thought was quite a quinceincidence, Granny Smith had a friend in show business, an industry incider, but wasn’t sure of his currant location: “Now, let me think. Where did that man go? I can’t believe I’m forgetting his name. This is bananas?” It then occurred to her that he had recently transitioned to kitchen remodeling and he specialized in slate and pomegranate countertops. She found his business card and handed it to Deborah: “His name is Perry Simmons. You’ve always been the apple of my eye so I hope this is a good lead. Perseverance is key. We must stay strong.” Deborah mulled it over and then replied: “Thanks Granny. I hope this leads to something because this might be the last straw.”

To be continued… using vegetable-related references.

Answers (in the order in which they appear): apple, orange, fig, passion(fruit), star(fruit), date, jack(fruit), durian, lemon, clementine (orange), berry, peach, lychee, mandarin (orange), goose(berry), blue(berry), melon, grapes, skin, plum, seed, pear, blackberry, pit, citrus, tangerine, lime, blood (orange), honeydew, etrog, cran(berry), Granny Smith (apple), elderberry, rasp(berry), guava, currant, quince, cider, currant, mango, bananas, pomegranate, persimmons, apple, kiwi, mul(berry) and straw(berry).

By Jon Kranz

 

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