Sunday, January 6, 2013

When Life Gives You Buddha’s Hand

If you and I are friends on Facebook, you probably already know that the PBA had a Fruit of the Week a few days ago. We try to do this with some regularity – like, say…every week (hence the name). But it doesn’t ever seem to quite come out like that. We go in spurts, to be honest, and may have more than one in a week, and then none for a month or more. But the name “Fruit of the Week” sounds much better (and frankly more organized) than “New Fruit Occasionally…Whenever We Get Around To It”.

My children have always been good eaters…the 11yo especially…and so I am trying to foster their desire and interest in continuing to enjoy a variety of foods. Not trying to transform anyone into foodies, by any stretch, but it is kind of fun to see things on travel shows which we have actually tried.

It doesn’t happen terribly often, but has, on occasion. I don’t mean for it to sound any more grandiose than it actually is.

This week’s Fruit of the Week was, you guessed it, the Buddha’s Hand. For those of you who may not be familiar with a Buddha’s Hand, please see below. It is as funny looking of a fruit as I have ever eaten. 

Or seen. Even the Rambutan, which we very much enjoyed, looked like something like an animal…very sea urchin-like, but still an animal. 

But Buddha’s Hand just reminded me of Davy Jones in “The Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. You know who I mean…the one with the “beard” that was like octopus tentacles? I just went ahead and included a picture for's easier that way, plus you will see that I am correct. So yeah…if you've seen this character in action, you'll understand why I had trouble getting past that visual with this fruit.

But…I forged ahead. Actually, when we bought the fruit, the sign at the grocery didn’t give any sort of description for what to do with it…so that should have been my first clue.

We brought it home and I, of course, Googled how to eat it. It was at that point I discovered that though it is part of the citrus family, it has no membrane or juice like an orange or grapefruit or any of those tasty fruits. This thing is all rind.

But as I continued with my research, I did find a few sites which said that though it is primarily used for zest, it can be eaten raw. And it has a strong lemony scent…much stronger than a lemon itself…and so I thought we would give it a go as a raw fruit.  I mean…how terrible could it be?!?

The PBA Fruit of the Week rules are simple and are as follows:
  1. Ideally, we all take our first bite together.
  2. If, by chance, you taste it first, you may not make a face or a comment until everyone else has had the opportunity to try the fruit for him or herself. We each want the opportunity to go into it as impartial and unbiased as possible.
  3. You may not spit it out, no matter how terrible you think it is. You don’t have to take a second bite, but you can’t spit out the first one.

Now, I will say that I typically go into the tasting somewhat narrow-minded because I have done the research and have read the opinions of others regarding the fruit. But I try very hard not to pass this bias along to anyone else.

But this time I need not say anything; when they saw me slicing it up, they were somewhat confused. They knew it was in the citrus family so they were clearly looking for some color inside. “Nope, it’s all rind…” I explained, and kept my head down so he couldn’t see my expression.


“Don’t worry …what I read online said it can be eaten raw, so it must be ok, right? If it’s online it must be true!” (Fortunately they understand sarcasm…)

“Ummm…ok.” Clearly not really buying it.

So, in keeping with the PBA Fruit of the Week regulations, we each took a bite at the same time. It did not take long for all our faces to turn…and I was never so thankful that we tried it simultaneously, because there wasn’t going to be hiding our reactions.

The boys both spit out there bites (a flagrant violation of the rules, but I did make an exception and allow it THIS time); Mr. Always Random and I did manage to choke down the bite, with the help of a bunch of water, but it was brutal. And very much like eating a thick rind from an orange, only without any hint of sweetness, tartness or juice.

D.I.S.G.U.S.T.I.N.G. In case I wasn’t clear, I do not recommend it. At all.

However, if anything, I am frugal. Did we immediately dump the rest of the fruit in the trash? Not at all. I spent $4 on that thing and I was NOT about to let it go to waste. I would find some way to salvage the rest of it.

I recalled the part about it being used for zest. On Friday evening, since I had nothing in need of any “zest” we tried it raw, much to my family’s chagrin. But I determined I would find SOMETHING which needed zest before this $4 wanna-be lemon went bad.

We’re going to pause our story for the moment because it’s time for a true confession…I know my readership loves it when I do that to them. Sure, it’s a slight deviation from the shallowness standards I try to uphold, but stick with me please…I don’t get too deep.

Makes me think, “Shove me in the shallow water before I get too deep…” Anyone know the song to which I am referring? Yes, you clever folks, it is by Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians for your Sunday afternoon memory lane trip. Here it is in case you’d actually like to listen to it. Just keep on reading if not.

As a side note, it’s not necessarily a song I like…but my comment above just made me think of those oh, so deep lyrics. And now the song is stuck in my head. Hope it isn’t in yours. Sorry if so.

Anyway, here's the confession: I have been in a smidge of a funk as of late. Not so that most people would notice, but definitely not feeling like myself. I have been choosing to be angry about things in my life over which I have zero control. I have spent time telling the Almighty Creator exactly why I am righteously indignant.

And yet, for some reason, it gives me no peace.  

Why is that, you may ask? Because I have been convicted that I need to let go of the anger and frustration and the indignation – righteous or not – and turn that energy into something good.

Something like cookies.

It didn’t take long for me to come up with a use for the Buddha’s Hand; I knew it had to be something that needed citrus zest so of course I thought: cookies. Isn’t that what you were thinking too? I’m sure it is.

Sure, I could have very easily pulled out some tilapia from the freezer and sprinkled it on top. But where would the fun be in that? Plus that wouldn’t translate into as charming of an analogy for my blog, either, would it? I try to maintain the high level of quality which you, my readers, have come to know and expect.

I grabbed my Lime Shortbread Cookie recipe and whipped some up – substituting, of course, the lime zest with Buddha’s Hand zest (not quite the same ring, is it?), and lemon extract instead of vanilla.

And though you may not believe me, I promise it happened just this way…I would never lie, but especially to you, my loyal I was making the cookies, the phrase, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” popped into my head. Sure, it’s trite and overly-cliché (I don’t actually know if something can be overly-cliché…I suspect it’s like calling something “very unique”…there are no degrees to unique; it either is or is not unique. Cliché is probably the same way.) But I digress…

I thought of that phrase and realized that I was doing just that. In fact, I was doing more than that. This Buddha’s Hand was G.R.O.S.S…way worse than a lemon. Sure, a lemon is sour and more than likely not something you would ask for, but it’s true…you CAN make it into lemonade…which is great. Who doesn’t like a glass of lemonade? Ok, if you don’t, please don’t message me to tell me…I know there are tons of people in this world who do not care for lemonade…I, myself, am not a huge fan of it but I know many people who are. Just making a point.

A Buddha’s Hand, however, is even less likely to be something a person asks for, and is 100 times worse than a bunch of lemons…there’s not even the juice with which to make lemonade. It’s like getting a bunch of lemon rinds.

But instead of letting the circumstances go to waste, I made something even BETTER than lemonade out of something WORSE than lemons…and it’s what I need to do in my own life as well.

Thank you, God, for showing me that though I may still be holding a Buddha’s Hand that I really do not like and did not ask for, I will get a sweet reward from it eventually. 


  1. So...the cookies were good? :)

    1. Mmmmm...Buddha's Hand Cookies are tasty :)

  2. We are alike, you and I! I was at Meijer today and saw these for the first time. The kids and I actually thought of buying one to give it a try. (I love Meijer for it's unwavering braveness in giving us new produce to try.) So glad we didn't! And if one of the kids ever dresses as "Life" giving out lemons again, perhaps I'll encourage him to pass out Buddha's hands instead. :)

    1. I also appreciate Meijer for that as well...and yes, I forgot that your clever child did dress like "Life" and hand out lemons for Halloween. Actually, he might just stick with lemons...those Buddha's Hands would cost you too much! You could let him hand out the same one repeatedly. :)

    2. Or let him hand out (catch that pun?) Buddha's fingers. :)

    3. Oh my...insert groan here. But secretly, I LOVE it. :)