Fruit was my childhood lesson on seasonality

Enjoyed strawberries a college sent the way my dad taught me: with evaporated milk (always Alaska), white sugar, and ice. We enjoyed avocados this way too, and I still do so to this day. This is why I did not acquire a taste for avocado toast. What power does a fad have over a good memory?

Summer fruits were my first inkling of seasonality. In the Philippines, there are two seasons: wet and dry. You didn’t really learn anything beyond that in school. But learning with your mind is different from learning with your stomach. While my eyes and ears and nose and skin measured seasons by what I could sense with my five senses, my stomach measured the year by what fruits appeared on the table.

My favorite, obviously, was summer, because that was when you had avocados, strawberries, and mangoes. Mangoes were always plentiful because they were reasonably priced, and we all know how spoiled we are because we have the most delicious mangos in the world.

I realise that some of my idiosyncrasies when it comes to food come from watching my parents eat. From my dad, I get my love for sauce, and for this summer dessert.

I fell in love with the idea of drinking coffee from my mom. I used to drink it the way she did, instant, with sugar. I now grind my own beans and usually have it black, and she’s stopped drinking coffee altogether, but I got my appreciation of it from watching the way she savoured every cup put in front of her. I also get my preference for Pinipig Crunch and century eggs from her. She also eats avocado the same way, except hers doesn’t include milk, because she doesn’t like the way it tastes.

My dad may have influenced the way I eat strawberries and avocados, but it’s my mom who is, to this day, the reason we have fruit at home. Pineapple, watermelon, oranges, chico, these and more would make their way to our table whenever she chances on them (What I would give for some chicos, which we haven’t had for years now).

It’s something we take for granted at home, and something I miss living on my own. Having to buy your own bananas doesn’t feel the same as having them magically appear on the dinner table. Having to do things for myself makes me realise how much I am cared for, and how much I take for granted. See, mom? I didn’t have to have a family of my own to realise how much you do for us. All I needed to do was buy my own groceries.


Yvette Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and a lifestyle writer for major local and international titles.