Did you think the holidays were over, darlings? Well they may be for you, but I won't be dragging myself over the holiday-season finish line until this weekend. So I thought I'd tell you about the little fruit that has kept me company over the past several weeks. No, I'm not talking about the yachstman; the little fruit I'm referring to is called a satsuma mandarin.
I should begin by noting that, as a rule, fruit does not qualify as dessert unless it has been doctored, for example baked in a buckle, muddled with sugar and served between the halves of warm shortcake, or topped with honey-sweetened Greek yogurt. But these little shizzles are special, and over the past month or so I've eaten them for breakfast, brunch, elevenses, lunch, post-nap snack, tea, supper, dinner, dessert, and midnight snack, among the other meals I consume daily.
I had my first satsuma mandarin a few weeks ago at my Greek stepmother's. I was assigned to peel them for a salad she was making, and for every section that went into the salad, four or five landed in my mouth. On my way home that night I stopped at the market and bought a few. Dozen. I bought a few dozen, OK?
The next time I went to the store I bought a few (dozen) more. Because who knew how long they'd be in season? And I was sure that as soon as word spread about how delicious they are, a Walmart-style stampede into the store would ensue, shoppers crushing each other underfoot to get the last of the satsuma mandarins while I was safe at home, hiding under my bed, eating tiny oranges. (Tiny oranges that taste like candy! And don't have seeds!)
This compulsive purchasing of oranges went on until we left town for the holidays, at which point I packed my hoard into a cooler and took them on a little tour of the Eastern Seaboard. I ate numerous satsuma mandarins on our sixteen-hour drive to North Carolina. Satsuma mandarins were there for me during the Christmas Day ice storm that left us without power or heat or running water. And I ate satsuma mandarins as we fled North Carolina in search of a place with a working toilet, namely the Shus in Maryland.
Satsuma mandarins saved me from scurvy when we arrived in Maryland and, too exhausted/lazy to move from my chair next to the fireplace, I relied for days on yachtsman-prepared meals of pizza, biscuits, and popcorn (the yachtsman didn't actually pop the corn, but he did open the bag). And when we ran out of hot chocolate to mix with the rum on our New Year's Eve boat ride, someone came up with the brilliant idea of soaking sections of fruit in a mug of liquor and eating those (god forbid we just stop drinking; another wizard put a stick of gum in his mouth, took a swig of rum, and called it a mojito, but that's a story for another bl*g post entirely).
I savored the last few of my satsuma mandarins on our drive back to Vermont, peeling back the thin skin and feeding sections to the yachtsman as he steered us through the blizzard that dumped nearly three feet of snow in Burlington. And the next day when we waded through the knee-deep snow to the store for supplies, I was surprised to see...satsuma mandarins. They were a little wizened and on sale, but, shockingly, still available.
Let the hoarding begin again.