It’s been over a month since my last post. This is due mainly to laziness, but partly to limited internet access. The latter in turn is due partly the power being out in my village like every other day, and partly to host sister having had a baby. The baby has to stay warm, of course, and that means they stay in the only room in the house with a stove, and that room also has the internet cable. New posts are coming, I swear, but until then, here’s an update on one of my earliest posts.
Remember when I used to do boring posts like this? Well today I’ve got two more fruits for you, and these ones are more obscure than the previous ones.
The first is called zghmartli (ზღმარტლი) in Georgian. They’re a bit like small pears. The ones I had were pretty tough. That’s because they go through two ripening processes: first they ripen as normal fruits do, then they go through something bletting, which is similar to rotting. Apparently you’re supposed to eat them after they blet, but I ate them fresh off the tree. It wasn’t bad, but they’re so small and gritty that it wasn’t worth the effort.
Do you know what that’s called in English? I had no idea, and it took me a while to find out because my host family told me it was zmartli, rather than the correct zghmartli (I guess they’re just as confused by those fucked up consonant clusters as I am). Eventually I found out that the correct name is “medlar”. Shakespeare mentions them unfavorably in Measure for Measure: “They would else have married me to the rotten medlar” (IV. iii. 167). How about that?
The second is the shindi (შინდი). It’s like a cross between a cherry and an olive, and they taste as shitty as you would expect. One the hand, they’re too bitter to be good as jam or juice, as you would normally do with cherries, and on the other, they’re too sweet to be good with meat or cheese, as you might do with olives.
In English they’re called “cornelian cherries.” I prefer to call them “cornels,” after the name of the tree they grow on, because it sounds like “cornhole,” and these things taste like ass.
UPDATE 5/14: Today I tried another new fruit. In Georgian it’s called alucha (ალუჩა). Apparently they’re called cherry plum in English, although a poster at my school gives alycha (probably just a machine transliteration of the Russian Алыча). They look exactly like the English names suggests, and the taste is an unpleasant combination of crabapple and grass. I thought maybe they weren’t ripe, but the kids at school were eating them like candy (but also throwing them at each other).
Cherry plums are used by Georgians to make a crappy sauce called tkemali (ტყემალი, tkh’emali). They frequently put it on otherwise delicious fried potatoes.