Durian News: January 2013

This January was quiet on the durian front. In contrast to December's deaths, health warnings, squabbles between stall owners, and all-you-can-eat buffets all across Southeast Asia, this month's biggest durian news is of havoc caused in an unlikely country: Canada.

Jackfruit is NOT a Durian

Jackfruit is a gigantic, green-gold lopsided monstrosity that looks more like an alien cocoon than a fruit. It's weird, it's stinky, it's totally exotic.

It's not anything like durian. Not the teensiest bit.

Recipe: Durian-Persimmon Salad

Are you flabbergasted by the title? Me too. I have no idea how Evan Rock got it in his head to blend durians and persimmons and pour the combination over salad greens, but it's fantastic. The persimmon blends with the durian just perfectly, adding a cinnamon zest and a beautiful orange hue to a creamy, onion-y sweet salad dressing.

Fruitluck Durian Presentation

At durian stalls in Asia, Rob and I would draw stares of disbelief. Someone would inevitably ask, "How is it you eat durian? Western people can't stand durian."  Then they would say sagely, tapping their nose, "The smell."

The truth is that we are not alone in our durian adoration. There is a select group of non-Asians throughout the Western countries who are already completely in love with the King of Fruit, smell included. Rob and I met up with some of them in Los Angeles, where they hosted our first durian presentation at their monthly meeting of Fruitluck LA, a fruit-appreciation and raw food club. You can view all 50 minutes of our presentation below.

Death By Fruit | When Durian Really Does Kill People

Durian has a bad reputation - and not only for it's smell. At first we believed rumors of people dying from durian to be a myth, but sadly, yes, our beloved fruit is a bit of a murderer. While Rob and I romped around Asia sampling durian, the media reported on six individuals who met their end by durian.  This is a tribute to all those people who lost their lives this year because of durian. 

Bringing Durian Home

Both romanticized and demonized in Hollywood, the American South is generally a quiet, quaint region with beautiful architecture, big manicured lawns, and a culture all it's own."Yes" and "no" are always paired with "sir" or "ma'am", and everything is just darling. Except possibly, durian.

We'd left Southeast Asia for the Southeast of the United States, traditionally the most socially conservative, republican and rural part of the country. Often the butt of redneck jokes, the South has a bad rap as being polite to a fault and close minded to other cultures and ways of doing things. A durian, with it's exotically offensive smell, is not something one would expect to find in either of the Carolinas. Just because Rob and I were visiting the South for Christmas didn't mean we could leave behind our durian fetish. It was time to share our passion with the family, who had never heard of durian before our wild adventure. It would be an interesting experiment - was it possible that our family would actually like durian?

Recipe: Durian Chocolate Mousse Cake, Raw Vegan Style

picture coutesy of Sunny Raw Kitchen

Edit: This recipe was brought to my attention again when I received an email from Joz, a friend of Carmella's who helped create this masterpiece and who lives in my hometown in Oregon. She saw an article about us in our local paper, The Mail Tribune, and sent me a link to the recipe. I'd already posted it in our durian recipe index, but was thrilled to hear from her! In light of this chance cyber meeting, I thought it was worth re-posting this recipe. It is really, really good.  The combination of durian and chocolate is a great way to sabotage any ascetic New Year's Resolution without feeling any real guilt. Durian is, after all, a fruit.

Carmella of the Sunny Raw Kitchen really has a way with raw cakes. When I first starting experimenting with the raw food diet, one of the most difficult parts was recreating familiar textures and shapes in my food. I wanted to eat things that looked similar and felt similar in the mouth to foods that I was accustomed to eating. For the first year of my transition, I depended on the Sunny Raw Kitchen for recipes and ideas.

At that point in my life, I'd never tasted durian. This cake was a completely new taste experience! It turns out that chocolate and durian go really well together. The chocolate mousse part of this cake is particularly divine - avocados make the perfect base for a deeply rich, smooth dessert.

The Top 10 Durian Blogs

(Besides Ours, Which is Obviously the Best)

Although we like to think we're the folks most obsessed with durian, we're not the only ones. There aren't that many blogs dedicated to durians yet (yet!), but here are 10 sites, in no particular order, that may tickle your durian curiosities and entertain your obsession.

The End (Sort Of)

It's the end of 2012, and the Year of the Durian has officially come to a close. One year, 12 months, 52 weeks and 366 days (it was a leap year!) of durian all the time. Will my brain ever stop revolving around durian?