Thursday, July 29, 2010

The King's official food tester

As the story goes, some poor soul is designated as the official Person Who Tests The King's Food to Make Sure It Ain't Poisoned.

For obvious reasons, a shitty job. And yet, at least you ain't eating porridge. You are eating pheasant (albeit a poisoned one). Hey, it's a fine and noble way to die.

Yesterday I decided I was the King, as well as the King's Food Tester, all in one. I discovered a mysterious fruit-bearing tree had fallen over the path I walk on my lunchbreak. All this fruit, whatever it was, would soon perish now that this tree was dying a slow death.

In a moment of brilliance, and in hopes to avenge this tree that had so obviously been hit by some fool on a vehicle and left to die, I determined I would find out as much as I could about this fine specimen, and whether or not the fruit it took such time and care to bear was edible and not poison.

So no, I did not simply reach amid its branches, pluck a piece of fruit, and send it down my hatch hoping for the best. No, instead I researched this tree. And by research, I mean I posted a picture I took of this tree on Facebook and hoped I inadvertently was Facebook friends with a botanist or other agriculturalist.

This lead to some creative answers, guessing this tree was anything from persimmon to cherry to crabapple. I have never eaten a persimmon or a crabapple, and didn't really want to start, so I crossed my fingers it was a cherry, but that still left me with questions about the TYPE of cherry it could be.

I'll interject here that I was also excited by this mystery because it could yield a big bag of fruit, for free. FREE I TELL YA! And food's expensive. Who doesn't want free food? Jerks, that's who. And for the most part I am not a jerk.

To determine what type of tree I had, I'd have to take to the Google of it all. Eventually the claptrap of search results lead me to find the Arbor Day web site, which has a field guide for trees.

What an incredibly useful site. I felt as though I could walk up to any tree in the eastern United States of America and determine whether it was a ginkgo biloba or an Eastern Hemlock. However in my tree mystery I learned there are all sorts of botanical terms I needed to figure out about my mystery tree, stuff about the leaf margins, the petioles and all this other scientific stuff I forgot since graduating the 8th grade.

Eventually, however, I came to a definitive answer!

This tree was a Sour Cherry Tree!

At least, I think.

Which means, it's edible! Free food! FREE I TELL YA!

At least, I think. I tried a sample. Still alive, a day later. I think I'm safe!

I'd like to report I picked the fallen cherry tree clean of all its fruit, netting a sizeable bag of cherries, comparable in size to a bag of cherries you'd buy at the grocery store.

It's about two pounds of fruit. California, Bing and White Cherries are regularly $3.99 a pound at my local Shoprite, but two of these varieties are on sale at $2.99 a pound.

I may have saved six bucks, but this time I had a real adventure, which is priceless, I think. Plus I get to make this shit.

My cherry booty:

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