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Growing up, my parents would always cut up fruit and de-shell nuts for us, as sort of a post-supper snack. My mother would carefully cut up chilled seasonal fruit and brew a pot of chrysanthemum tea. My father would use his own teeth to crack open salted peanuts and sunflower seeds for us, while frying up prawn crackers at the stove.
They're just simple cut fruit and nuts, but somehow they don't taste the same when I'm just preparing them by myself. That they are meticulous labors of love are what make them taste special.
*Completed for Rebecca Bradley's "Illustrating the Edible" course at MICA*
My grand parents had a big persimmon tree in their yard. When I was little we would pick its beautiful jewel-like fruits together. My grandpa always told me to leave some fruits for birds. At the porch, we ate the freshly picked persimmons with hoji tea watching little birds pecking the leftover fruits still hanging from the tree branches. This time of year, whenever I see persimmons at a market, it reminds me of the lovely tea time with my grands.
This is a simplified version of a classic pressed-sushi from Japan's Nara region, which has no direct access to the sea. The people of Nara were able to satisfy their taste for fish and even pack it as a traveling lunch, by using cured fish and persimmon leaves, which have antibacterial properties. The leaves (usually salted while they are still green) are not consumed. In this version, the colorful leaves are mainly for creating an autumnal presentation.