November 26, 2012

Thoughts of Tinned Peaches

Some if not many Chinese would start having creative juices gurgling in their veins when seeing peaches. That might be quite an exaggeration to some people but then it is true for many of my friends.

For since young we have been taught by elders about peaches and peach blossoms. Peach blossoms refer to romance. Love is in the air when peach blossoms appear in the country side! But that may seem so foreign to  the Foochow youths of Sibu.

But for me when my friends in Perth show me their photos of peaches I too feel a little stirred. But for another reason. For they conjure up lots of memories of the past.

When we were young in Sibu, it was very exciting to attend weddings or birthday parties. Those were the highlights of the year. The feast was a bonus. But to me it was the last dish which was really the "icing on the cake". The dessert of peaches and longans in a bowl of ice cubes. 

Hock Chu Leu, the famous Foochow Restaurant, served a big bowl of this dessert I remember. And the peaches were in huge slices. Some restaurants would cut the peaches into cubes and I would feel rather cheated.

Peaches to me then were very soft and very sweet.

Until I went to China where I had my first taste of the fresh fruit. I was disappointed. Perhaps I did not buy the best. Although it was a giant peach, the fruit was not mature enough. It tasted like a piece of wood. That cost us 12 ringgit each!!

May be next year I could go to Perth to enjoy the peaches there.
Photo by Lesley Poole Wells. Lesley is such a fine friend and she has allowed me to use any of her lovely photos to illustrate my writings . Thanks Les.

Another photo by Lesley P. Wells
Here's a lovely bowl of canned peaches.

Extra notes from Wikipedia :  The peach tree is a tremendous Chinese symbol for longevity as well as other auspicious attributes. Each element of the peach tree has significant meaning. The wood of the tree was said to ward off evil, and ancient warriors would craft weapons from the wood. Taoist magic was made with the petals of the peach blossoms - the effects were known to put men into an intense trance of love. It is said that the Peach plant of immortality located in the Kun Lun mountains would produce the fruit only once every 3,000 years. When this happened, the Eight Immortals would gather and eat of the magic fruit, assuring their immortality.

My own photo of a huge bowl of peaces and almond jelly during one of our  family dinners.

We used to get tins of peaches as presents from visiting relatives and mum would always keep them safe. Sometimes we would save them for a festival, other times she would take one tin along when she went visiting a relative. We would never just eat peaches for no reason. No one in the family would think of opening a tin and just help herself.

It has actually taken me 40 years to find out the real taste of peaches. My first peach was in China in Chengdu and I was not really impressed. It was nothing like the soft fruit from the tin. It was hard, it was sour and not juicy at all. This just shows how one can be so encultured by one's environment.

Actually I have bought a tin of peaches to share with my Tuesday meet up with Shirley or Irene or whoever can turn up and share old memories...Do you remember.......?


Anonymous said...

I think the peach you had in Chengdu perhaps was not ripe. Good ripen peaches are soft, sweet, and juicy. And the fresh is nice and soft and velvety. Normally we like to buy French peaches here in Holland. I was told is the best.

Next time if your fresh peach is not good, don't waste it, add it to your salad. It gives the sour, tangy bite to an otherwise quite regular salad.


Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks Cindy. Will take note. When my friends and I were in Chengdu we actually did not know how to choose fresh peaches properly. It was a good experience. We bought one each and subsequently we did not try again because it was quite an expensive fruit ..when it first appeared during the peach period. I must try fresh peach again in Perth.

Will remember you tip. Have a good day.

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Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Anonymous,

thanks for dropping by. I will check you blog too...Cheers!!

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Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks for visiting, perhaps I would follow up with a post about another favourite canned food of the olden days Foochows. Different ways of serving canned peaches would be a very possible post, just waiting for the photos and right occasions. Thanks for your encouragement.

Anonymous said...

Peaches are like durians! You cannot keep them for too long as the fruitsw will get watery. thus, the reason difficult to get them in the right condition. You must be there at the right place and the right time!!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks Anonymous...hopefully next year I am able to be at the right place and the right time...

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