Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Attune to Prunes

Remember the 5 things you might think of when you hear the word Brazil? Now you can add another aspect: prunes.

I'm not sure why prunes are so reviled in American culture, or so revered in Brazilian culture. Perhaps if prunes had the marketing that the California Raisins did, it would be a different story in the U.S. today.

Coming from a place where a good portion of people aren't even aware that prunes are dried plums - to somewhere that has prune yogurt, ice cream and cake has been a real adjustment. Pretty much anything that we have in the U.S. that would be available in cinnamon flavor, is available in Brazil in prune flavor. Prune-flavored gum would not shock me. I don't know if it exists, but I’m sure it is only a matter of time.

Prunes are added to otherwise normal food here, too... I'm talking chicken dishes, pizza... I may have even chanced upon prunes in lasagna once. I can't talk about it, though. It pushed me over the edge.

The "olho-de-sogra" or "mother-in-law's eye" is a popular treat at Brazilian parties. It is made with prunes and coconut filling, garnished with a clove. It truly looks like a plate of eyes staring at you. The symbolism of your mother-in-law... watching you... from every angle... is both horrifying and hilarious. Oh, and it's a bunch of prunes. More prunes...

Don't get me wrong: I think prunes (by themselves) are a healthy dried fruit snack, not just for old people or toddlers as seen by the American culture, and not to be used in place of salt or sugar as it seems to be, in the Brazilian culture. They have their place, and I’m hoping it is found between the two extremes of American and Brazilian cultures...

Anyone from anywhere else have a good example of a happy medium? I'd love to hear it.

All images found on Google

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