Sketch Tuesday – Make Like a Tree

Jocote de maranon

The topic for Sketch Tuesday this week was Something That Grows on a Tree. I thought it would be a good chance to share a little something about myself.

I’ve been allergic to certain nuts since I was a kid. When I eat walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts, my throat starts to swell up, I get shooting pains up and down my back, and I turn into a throat-ripping beast every full moon (er, wait, scratch that last one). I’ve never experienced anaphylactic shock, but my reactions get worse every time I inadvertently consume a nut, so I know it’s only a matter of time (happy thoughts!).

Several years ago, when I was serving as a missionary in Guatemala, a good friend whom I was teaching gave me a fruit I had never seen before and urged me to try it. It was bright red, and shaped sort of like a cross between a red pepper and a pear, and had this weird curvy stem. He called it a “marañon”. When I took a bite out of it, the juice hit my tongue like acid. In a matter of seconds, all moisture was drained from my mouth and my tongue went numb. I couldn’t bring myself to put it in my mouth again, and politely stowed the rest of it in my bag.

Shortly after that I developed an allergy to fresh fruits and vegetables. I can eat them if they’ve been cooked or processed, but raw fruits and veggies now give me the same allergic reaction as tree nuts, just to a somewhat lesser extent. Aside from making it that much harder to eat healthy, I really miss biting into a fresh strawberry or slice of watermelon.

I recently decided to look up exactly what the heck that evil fruit was that I tried in Guatemala. Turns out it’s referred to in English as a “cashew apple“, because, hey, that’s where cashews come from (they grow in the stem). Who knew? I’m not a doctor, but I think I finally found the link that made me start reacting to fresh fruit the way I did to nuts. Weird how nature works, huh?

Anyway, now that I’ve confided my greatest weakness to you, my beloved readers, see that you use this knowledge for good, not evil. Now where the chips and salsa at? That stuff I can eat.

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About Nick Perkins

Insurance drone by day, cartoonist by night.
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