Being one of a very few white people in our neighborhood and certainly being the only white couple with black children raises a few eyebrows. We're used to it. And we've found that transparency is our best ally. It's one of those "elephant in the room" situations where everyone feels better after someone states the obvious. But despite our best efforts to face things head on and not to stand out more than necessary, there are times when even the smallest thing can draw attention. For example....
There is a food pantry that runs out of the Dubois Center just a block from us. I don't usually get to take advantage of it because it hits in the middle of Bella's nap time but after one of our neighbors came by and encouraged me to "get up there and get some sweet potatoes for these babies." I did just that. Among other things, there was a large box at one end that I found to be FULL of avocados. Two things to note:
1-The box was full, as in no one had touched them despite the fact that they were just about to close up shop. Clearly not a fave.
2-Avocados are INSANELY expensive. We're talking $1 plus each. That's not in the budget.
I had to make a choice. Lay claim to this mystery produce even though it was apparently not a staple in most homes around here and face the stares or walk away avocado-less and save face of sorts. Well, the budget won out and I began loading my bag with the purple gems. Suddenly, it felt like all eyes were on me. (Kinda the way I felt once when I retrieved a lime from a lime tree at my daughter's former orphanage and proceeded to peel and eat it. The kids began to circle up around me and the nannies and kitchen staff came out of the wood work to stare at me. Turns out that Haitians ONLY use limes to clean chickens before they cook them. I could of chugged a bottle of Mop-n-Glow and they would have been no less amazed.) Anyway, back to the current story.
The conversation with on-lookers went something like this:
What exactly are those?
Me: um, avocados
uh-huh. And what do you plan to do with them?
Me: well, I'll probably use them to make salsa or dip for nachos.
(At this point, one of the ladies who oversees the pantry leans in to me and says "honey, take all of those that you want 'cause we don't eat those things and they will just rot." I smiled and tried to down play my interest.)
So, what exactly do they taste like?
Me: um, well, I-uh-I guess they just taste like whatever you mix with them.
They all laughed and nodded graciously and I took the opportunity to move quickly to the sweet potatoes, a nice safe produce. The truth is, I think avocados taste something like the flavor you would get by mixing root beer and cucumbers and then belching. Yet somehow, if you add enough garlic, onions, and tomato-- it's delicious! Go figure.
Note to self: Try not to get too excited if the food pantry ever offers artichokes.