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Friday, June 15, 2012

Living in Baku: Cherries

When we left Cairo, I was very sad.  Well, sad about some things.  I would miss my friends, the pool, the members of my church.  And most importantly, I would miss the mangoes.  Mangoes in Cairo were cheap, delicious, plentiful and came in about twenty varieties.  Brandon and I used to joke that Cairo was in the Mango Belt, and I certainly have plans in the future to return to that particular belt.

There were some things I was excited about Baku for, but there wasn't anything particularly food-related that sounded exciting.  And I was wrong.  Because I think that with probably a few exceptions, just about anywhere you go is going to have something really tasty you can find to eat.

A few weeks ago when cherries started appearing at the fruit stands, I was happy to see them.  I really like cherries, and at $1.80 a pound, they were a great buy.  So every time I went to the store, I bought cherries.  Last week I went to the Green Bazaar, a large fruit and vegetable bazaar, looking for strawberries.  The strawberries were kind of hard to find, but cherries were in abundance.  And not just regular sweet cherries, but yellow and red sour cherries, small sour cherries and yellow cherries, and they were even cheaper than the strawberries.

I was tempted to buy kilos and kilos, but I remembered what my housekeeper had said about the cherries - the season was just started and they would be cheaper later.  So I just bought a kilo for regular eating.  This week when I went to the store, the cherries were cheaper - $1.15 a pound - so I bought eighteen pounds.  Because who wouldn't buy eighteen pounds of cherries if they have a freezer to store them in?

When I got home, Naila asked me how much I had paid, and I told her, excited at how cheap they were.  If I were in the US, eighteen pounds of cherries would have cost a lot more than $21.  She smiled and told me that I should have waited; in a week or two they would be even cheaper - about 65 cents a pound.  Who knew Azerbaijan would be in the previously-undiscovered Cherry Belt?

I'm pretty excited about the cherries, but I think that Naila maybe isn't so happy about working for a crazy American lady who buys cherries nine kilos at a time.  I offered to wash and pit them, but I confess that my protests were kind of weak when she said that she would take care of them, and when the children and I came back from the pool (I know, my life is really hard), eighteen pounds of washed, stemmed and pitted cherries waiting for me do do what I would with them.

And I did.  Now our freezer is full of cherry jam, frozen cherries, and cherry popsicle mix.  But I think next time I buy cherries, it might be on a day where my housekeeper doesn't feel honor-bound to take care of them for me.  I am lazy, but hopefully I'm not downright cruel.


UnkaDave said...

Speaking of belts, we're all going to need somewhat larger ones, considering the gastronomic delights we expats are discovering.

PaulaJean said...

With the profusion of fruits here, we don't have cherries. I guess almost every place has an advantage!