Nance is a small yellow fruit popular in Panama. When my husband and I first arrived there, chicha de nance (a drink made from crushed nance fruit) was something we could barely choke down out of politeness to our hosts. The flesh of nance fruits is oily, gritty, acidic, and has a funky cheesy flavour. If you think too much about it, chicha de nance is reminiscent of watery vomit.
So you’ll understand why we didn’t like it.
But during nance season (and for several months afterwards, because people store it in bottles of water—yeah, don’t even think about what grows in those bottles) it’s impossible to avoid nance. Everyone you visit serves chicha de nance. Neighbours give you bottles filled with nance fruit.
You learn to drink it without grimacing. Before long you’re drinking it without even thinking about vomit. It’s a slippery slope from there, and next thing you know, you’re looking forward to nance season and wondering if you can trade some eggs for a bottle of nance from your neighbour.
I’m thinking about nance today as I contemplate the feijoas dripping from our tiny feijoa bushes. This is the plants’ first year producing fruit and I am amazed and a little terrified at their productivity.
I’m terrified because I hate feijoas. I don’t even like the smell. Simply walking past the fruit bowl when there are a few ripe feijoas in there makes me wrinkle my nose in disgust. I find it hard to breathe around them. Eating one makes me shudder—I swallow quickly to avoid tasting it too much.
Fortunately for me this year, my husband has been keeping up with the feijoas—he loves them. But those feijoa bushes are only going to get bigger. Next year I will have no excuses—I’ll have to eat them.
So I’m thinking about nance. If I could learn to love a fruit that tastes and feels like vomit, surely I can learn to love feijoas, right?
They say a child needs to try a food up to 15 times before they’ll eat it. That’s a lot of feijoas …