Breakfast was my all time favourite meal of the day and that meant fruit. A big bowl of fruit or a mammoth smoothie. Sometimes I even went to bed with a feeling of I can’t wait to get up in the morning and have breakfast.
I had some of the best fruit breakfasts in Jamaica with tree ripened fruit – some from Spanish Town market, some from our back garden and some as gifts from friends’ and neighbours’ gardens (Jamaicans liked to share that way and were always proud to bestow a gift that they had reaped from their property with their very own hands).
My Mom was no different. She was very proud of her estate.
In the height of mango season, we always had mangoes galore, and it was a joy to go out in the back garden and find mellow ripe mangoes fallen under the trees.
In our garden, we had an East Indian mango tree, a Julie mango tree, and one that was like a cross breed between two other commoner varieties – fruit from the latter pictured in my hand above. Each produced fruit that were delicious in their own right. They were syrup sweet and so juicy that you were always best eating them outside because there would be juice dripping everywhere when you bit into the succulent flesh.
We had an apple tree too. The apples were called Otaheiti apples and were different from English apples. They were delicate and juicy when allowed to ripen properly, and they had to ripen on the tree as they did not ripen any further once picked.
We had a few pineapples too, and my Mom was always thankful to her late father for teaching her how to look after pineapple plants. I remember Granddad had huge fields of pineapple plants in the countryside and the family used to sell them by the truckload. We didn’t have truckloads in my mum’s garden but we were always excited whenever one was ready to be picked, and we all gathered around for a slice of truly organic, home grown, tasty pineapple.
We bought other fruit from the market when they were in season. Sometimes we had star apples, sometimes we had papayas, sometimes naseberries and oranges, and almost always bananas. Sometimes we bought extra pineapples and apples too, even though we grew some of our own.
I created a whole array of fruit combinations depending on what was in the kitchen. And I’d often add spinach and other greens from our garden to make various green smoothie concoctions as well.
One of my favourite ways to enjoy fruit was to cut some into cubes and then bled some more with a little water and pour it over the cubes like a sauce. Super sweet and delicious!
I always enjoyed my breakfasts sitting on the bench outside the kitchen door, with the gentle morning sun bathing my skin; and my heart would literally sing as I downed each naturally, sugary mouthful.
Now, in Hay-on-Wye, I missed all of that. For starters, fruit simply didn’t taste the same here: no surprises, it wasn’t tree ripened. And secondly, I didn’t have a blender; and even if I did, because I did not live on my own, I would not be able to use it in the pre-dawn hours before going to the bakery since other people in the house would be asleep. So I created an alternative: I could perhaps call it a layered fruit and leafy veg pie.
Now, gentle reader, I am well aware that this is not an entirely new idea but it is my version, and my invention in its own right, and certainly delicious, if I may say so myself. It became my go-to meal on my first nights before going to the bakery; and I would take an extra container with some as well to eat when I got a break. And even though they were lacking my favourite Jamaican fruit, I still enjoyed them immensely.
One thing I can say about fruit breakfasts, they are always much more energizing than heavy, hard to digest meals and once you feel that difference you’ll never want to go back to bacon and eggs or ackee and saltfish for breakfast or whatever heavy meal you may be wont to packing in first thing in the morning. I’d suggest trying those heavier meals for lunch after your body has gone through its natural cleansing routine. It may take a bit of getting used to but you may find that it is well worth the effort.
As for me, I think breakfast and fruit will continue to be my all time favourite meal of the day.
Footnote: My Mom grew lots of other things in our garden, like scotch bonnet peppers:
and soursops, and ackees, and sweetsops, and callaloo, and limes, and aloe vera, and mint, and basil, and broccoli, and corn, and pumpkin, and melon, and okra, and peas, and. . . gosh, I didn’t even realize how rich our homestead was until I stopped to write it all down now!