So today me and Craig ate the durian. It was....hmm...not anticlimactic, at least.
First off, when we cut it open, the smell wasn't as intense as I thought it'd be. Oh, it was unpleasant, sure, but I was expecting an overpowering, pervasive odor, not unlike the sensation of "four people in a Volkswagen all farting in unison" kind of thing. I'd even refused to cut it open indoors for fear the odor would chase me out, WTO-riot tear gas styleee. False alarm. I can see that you wouldn't want a bunch of these in your house at once, though-- durian potluck=bad idea.
But the fart metaphor is apt. When opened, it smells kinda like natural gas, or a fart, or differently-sweaty gym socks. Not sickening, but not exactly edible smelling, either. And once you open it, it's odder yet:
I expected it to be more green than yellow. Perhaps this one is overripe or underripe? Anyway, the inside is custard-like, yet pulpy at the same time. Remember old fashioned, non-instant pudding that you cook on a stove and the moment you quit stirring, a skin forms on the top? well, imagine that skin doesn't break apart when you prod it with a spoon, and you have an idea of the consistency of the durian. Also, there are these HUGE pits/seeds in the middle of the pulpy custard part that look like oversized almonds. They are the brown things in the photo. The pulp was stringiest next to these pits.
The taste: sorta like banana pudding crossed with something like garlic, or maybe that weird chemical taste you get when you heat something too long with Sterno. The irony of this is, that of all the possible sins of the durian, resembling a banana in any form is probably the worst one to me.
I hate bananas. After bubblegum, it's possibly my least favorite food smell in the world. If you give me food with stealth banana ingredients (for example, banana creme pie that I think is custard pie, or banana bread that I think is zucchini bread), I will spit it out rather than swallow it.
So the durian smells wrong, tastes incongruous, and all I could thing was "Arrrgh, stealth banana pudding!". It was hard to eat much of it while thinking of bananas.
Well, hard for me. Craig, who has no animosity towards bananas, ate a huge amount (or huge for a first timer). See the half in my left hand in the photo? Craig pretty much scooped out all 4 "pockets" and consumed them all, all the while saying "I'm not sure if I like this or not".
We consumed this outside of his workplace, which is an high-speed internet gaming place where teenage boys spend hours shooting at each other and Undead Nazi Orcs while wearing headphones and yelling, "Dude, you totally shot me!" at one another. Anyway, one of the teens, stepping outside for a smoke, was inquisitive about the durian and chanced a taste, even after smelling it. He spit it out within second of it entering his mouth and proclaimed it to be the worst thing he'd ever tasted, ever. But you have to give the guy props for trying it in the first place. He watched Craig eat with equal parts horror and admiration, all the while asking, "You LIKE the way it tastes?". I think he was even more confused by Craig's admission that he didn't know if he liked it, said while he continued to hollow out the pulpy pockets with his spoon.
As for me, I dunno. It was very different from the durian popsicles, ice cream and milkshakes I'd enjoyed in the past. Maybe it was the psychological thing of looking like banana pudding. Maybe it's because this is the second "food popular among Asians that most white folk find revolting" I've tried this week (the first was tripe, tasted on Sunday. I didn't like that much, either). I keep wondering if scooping it out and throwing the "meat" in a blender to remove the stringy pulp would make it tastier.
I still have the larger "half" (the part in my right hand in the pic) in my fridge. Maybe I'll bring it to work and abandon it in a quiet corner of the staff room....heh.
After the Durian tasting, I went to the Engine House for a hamburger to restore my ugly American chi. All is now gastronomically balanced.