About 14 or 15 years ago we got some very interesting visitors: Two ladies who managed the Citrus Variety Collection at the University of California at Riverside — Tracy and Tootsie. (Tootsie has since retired, but I had the great pleasure of touring the Citrus Collection with Tracy earlier this year . . .following her in her Volkswagen Bug around the citrus groves.)
Tootsie and Tracy brought us dozens of samples of all kinds of new citrus varieties that were either growing or being developed there. As it turns out, this very Citrus Collection is considered the world’s preeminent repository of citrus rootstock and varieties and due to my mother’s long association with the University in Riverside, we got to preview what was up and coming.
One of the more fascinating citrus items they showcased were Finger Limes, which we have lovingly called “Lime Caviar” because of the miniature pearls of lime that ooze from these finger-shaped fruits when you break open the skin.
I admit that they are super tart. In fact, I learned to roll them around in my mouth for a few seconds (they maintain their round shape), before crunching down on them.
Six years ago, as I was walking the exhibit halls of Fruit Logistica (an international fresh produce trade show) in Berlin, Germany, I came across a grower of Australian Finger Limes. We tried and tried to get a permit to bring them into the United States, but to no avail.
Fortunately, we began working with several growers in Southern California who have planted a few Finger Lime trees and they are now being harvested.
Finger Lime trees are quite interesting. They are small bush-like trees with many thorns. I swear the thorns are there to protect those darling little limes. During a tour of a Finger Lime grove in Ojai, California, last year, the grower let me know that they have bears (yes, BIG BEARS) in their citrus grove, so I was a bit nervous after I saw a giant pawprint in the ground.
But what I learned about Finger Limes is that in order to harvest them – you shake the trees! Tarps are placed on the ground underneath the tree before the shaking begins, and because of the thorns, that is the best and only practical way to harvest them.
I do have some bad news about the Finger Limes. They are SUPER expensive. There are only a few growers and with the high cost of land, the expensive root stock and the small yield from each tree, they cost a pretty penny.
You may (and that is a big MAY) find them on the menu of a very upscale, chic restaurant. (Although I am not a big oyster eater – I’ve heard that chefs love to pair them with oysters as a garnish or topping.) Or you may find them in an upscale retail store or at a Farmer’s Market if you live in California.
They are probably packed in 4-ounce packages filled with dozens of tiny Finger Limes. Don’t be surprised if they are priced at close to $20 a package — which probably equates to 50 cents a lime.
My recommendation is to buy a package and share them with friends. Use this “Lime Caviar” instead of fish caviar on crackers with cream cheese. Or drop a few pearls of Finger Lime into a Martini at your next dinner party – and have a real conversation starter when your guests ask, “What’s that floating in my drink?”
And if you want to find out more about the Citrus Variety Collection at U.C. Riverside, check out this link to the 60 Minutes Show that aired on Sunday, November 27. You can also find out where the most top secret Swiss flavor developers in the world go to get their citrus flavors! (Click here to watch “The Flavorists” on 60 Minutes. It’s the second story — about 16:30 minutes in.)
And now you know!
To me, Thanksgiving is a mix of old traditions and new traditions. And it’s OK to be personal and unique.
As I am leaving for Dallas to be with my husband’s family for Thanksgiving Day, many people in my office have stopped by to say goodbye. I am struck by all the different personal traditions there are, just in our office.
One team member is flying to Colorado to be with her only daughter. Her daughter lives there and she is making dinner for her mom.
One team member is going to stay home with his wife and daughter. “Too much drama at the regular family dinner.” (Hmm…familiar?)
One team member is taking her family and going to a friend’s house. Just two families making a new tradition of thanks.
Someone else is inviting a few friends over for a potluck, but on Saturday, as that day is easier than the traditional Thursday.
Two of my fellow workers are flying to Costa Rica on Thanksgiving Day (OK, I have to admit that one is Costa Rican). I overheard them talking about what kind of “Thanksgiving Dinner” they will enjoy – in a country outside the U.S.
Each of these different approaches to Thanksgiving celebrations tells me that in the hustle and bustle of 2011, a few people have figured it out. It’s OK to have your own tradition.
The most important thing for me is that we pause and enjoy the moment.
When I return from Texas, my immediate family and a few friends will gather at our house on Saturday for our Thanksgiving dinner. The last few years, my two daughters Alex and Sophia have helped me cook, and this year they want to start early with me. Maybe we have the beginnings of a new tradition.
One thing is for sure. At my house, we will have lots of fresh fruits and vegetables — whether it’s a green salad, roasted fingerling potatoes, freshly made cranberry relish or roasted Brussels sprouts.
I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a yummy, fresh dinner!
I’m a big believer in continuous learning. Every year, I make sure I sign up for a few professional development seminars, and pick a few good business-related books to read.
Fortunately, I get a lot of outside ideas from my CEO group, Vistage. (Read my previous post about Vistage here.) At most of our monthly meetings, we have an outside, world-class speaker who shares state of the art information with my group. Whether it’s on sales, the economy, finance, or personal health, it’s a great way for me to stay current on what’s going on in the business world.
Once a year, Vistage hosts an annual conference and last November I attended the three-day event in San Diego.
The speaker on the first night was the amazing and world-famous Guy Kawasaki. If you’ve been around the business world for a while, you’ve probably read one or two of his books. “The Art of the Start,” “The Macintosh Way,” and “How to Drive Your Competition Crazy” are just three of his titles.
But what is really fascinating about Guy is that he was the Chief Evangelist for Apple Computers. He started working in the Macintosh (aka MAC) division in 1983 and his mission was to convince developers to create Macintosh-compatible products. He was the MAC guru.
This Guy rocks! (pun intended)
So at the Vistage conference, he was there to talk about his soon-to-be-published book, “Enchantment.” When he took the stage and started describing the art of enchantment, I was mesmerized.
Guy defines enchantment as the process of delighting people with a product, service, organization or idea.
He talked about real stuff. How to smile. (There is a way to tell if you are sincere.) How to dress and why you should not over or under dress. The importance of storytelling. He spoke for two hours and he was truly Enchanting.
When I got home I could hardly wait for his book to be published in April.
And like many people do, I got busy and never got around to ordering it. Thank goodness for my good friend Tina. When my birthday rolled around last month and I invited a few friends over for dinner, she walked in the door with a beautiful ribbon wrapped around the gorgeous bright red covered book.
|Guy Kawasaki’s latest
link to Amazon.com
Tina and I share a love of books and we often chat about our latest finds. (I admit she is a much more voracious reader than me.) We had discussed Guy Kawasaki’s latest book many times. So, I literally beamed ear to ear when I saw my gift. How perfect.
Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, had passed away just a couple of weeks before my birthday, so everything APPLE and MAC was top of mind. I imagine when Steve and Guy worked together, that as driving and relentless as Steve was, Guy was there to balance him. Guy was the schmoozer, the charmer. The one who took the time to talk to clients, developers and many others.
It’s not a surprise to me that he wrote a book called “Enchantment – The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions.” Isn’t that what Steve Jobs and Apple Computers did for the world?
Those are the words that my assistant, Linda said to me at the end of the day.
“What happened to Thanksgiving?” She commented that everywhere she shopped (even before Halloween), all the stores were featuring Christmas decorations!
I know the feeling. It seems even before one holiday ends, the stores have already moved onto the next “Hallmark” holiday. This weekend I noticed the Christmas decorations were up at my local Costco (and they were handing out shopping flyers for “black Friday.”)
But, I’d like to ask you to pause and think about what Thanksgiving stands for. To me, it’s a time to truly give thanks. Thanks for having food on our table. For having family and friends who accept us for who we are. For having jobs or companies that we love and support us.
I find Thanksgiving a special and memorable holiday. It’s the one time during the year that I get to cook my favorite foods, try out new recipes and astonish my 25 family and friends by proving that I do have time to cook and remember how! Like most of us, my weekly schedule is packed with meetings, dinners, and other obligations that make it a bit of an inconvenience to cook a nice meal and sit down to dinner together.
So, once a year, I devote myself to creating a menu of long-time favorites combined with a few culinary surprises that I’ve never tried before. My family starts dinner at the early hour of 4pm, and everyone hangs around for 5 or 6 hours eating, nibbling and catching up. A few years ago, we started the tradition of having our family dinner on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which means everyone can go to their other family functions and relax on Saturday evening at our house.
For some, Thanksgiving is a hassle. You either have to set up your house for a large number of dinner guests, or you have to prepare food so you can go to someone else’s house. You have to change your eating habit for the day, as most Thanksgiving feasts are between lunch and dinner time. If you’re a college student, you are happy that you get a break from school, but it’s a hectic weekend to come home.
I challenge you to look at this year’s Thanksgiving as a time to reflect, give thanks and enjoy. Stop and enjoy this holiday. Don’t rush into Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
Find some traditional foods and recipes to enjoy. Do something as a family. And if you don’t have family, then do something with your friends and neighbors.
Don’t worry, all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season will be waiting for you. I guarantee it!
Did you know that in the United States, the banana (the Cavendish variety, actually) is the number one consumed fruit? (For the rest of the world, the mango is number one.)
That probably explains why every single supermarket in America has a big display of bananas in their produce department. Most stores do not display the bananas near the front of the department – they put them in the middle or back — to make sure that you walk through the department and buy other things before you get to the bananas. (Trader Joe’s seems to be the exception, however, because they put their bananas in the front.)
I’m sure you can read anywhere about the nutritional information on bananas. High in potassium. Good source of fiber. All those basic facts.
But I doubt you can find out the correct way to peel a banana. Well, you are about to find out.
About 20 years ago, our production manager in the warehouse (Jorge Araujo) saw me eating a banana at my office. I was struggling with breaking the skin and ended up bruising the end of the banana. I didn’t have a knife to cut off the end.
Jorge told me that he used to manage banana plantations for a big grower in Central America and the natives told him the proper way to peel a banana.
Here is how most people peel a banana. They start at the wrong end:
Here is the correct way to peel a banana – starting at the opposite end:
So, now you know! Enjoy those bananas!