Food Friday: Thaw out the king of fruits


Food Friday: Thaw out the king of fruits
Packaging for the durian product resembles a pint of ice cream

FOOD FRIDAY: World Frozen Durian Pulp Cup

FOR ALL CONCERN about jet-fueled, world-ruining, unbroken cross-hemispheric produce availability, there are still seasons on the fruit calendar, and we have been in one of the bad ones. Citrus is fading out, and everything else is still nearly as sparse as it was before citrus faded in. Honey mangoes are back, but beyond that it's basically stored-up apples. I got an OK bag of navel oranges, still, and I ate a sweet and complex Bosc pear the other day, but the fruit array on the sideboard has been thin and paltry. 

Lid removed from the cup revealing foil liner and disposable spork-looking utensil

Between bouts of nibbling at the leftover pieces of honeycrisp apple, oxidizing around the edges, from the children's breakfast, I remembered that during last month's snack-ordering binge from the Chinese grocery delivery company, I had also thrown in a package of frozen durian. It arrived in what looked like an ice cream carton and I popped it in the freezer—and there it was now, ready for a midday fruit break. I Googled a few recipes for sticky rice to go with it, stopped kidding myself, and got out the carton. 

Under the golden plastic carton lid, I found a golden foil seal. Under the foil seal, inside the black plastic carton, I found a vacuum pack with a lobe of yellow-white durian flesh inside it. There was also a yellow plastic spork attached to the inside of the lid, and a black packet that looked like it would hold a moist towelette but which was labeled "FOOD GRADE DISPOSABLE GLOVES."

Package for durian-handling gloves: "WORLD DURIAN CUP FOOD GRADE DISPOSABLE GLOVES

Here was the King of Fruits: part luxury good, part hazmat. Despite the freezing and the vacuum packaging, a trace of the legendary durian odor was already detectable as the other layers came away. The cat jumped up on the table to investigate and I chased her off with the squirt gun. She jumped right back up, and I squirted her again. 

I'd suspected the cat might be obnoxious about the durian. She'd slopped pu'er tea onto my desk the other day while making ostentatious burying motions at the mug, as if it had been some fecal matter rudely left out in the open, in her way. And the pu'er had smelled no more offensive than wet leaves in the woods, nowhere near the class of durian. 

A hunk of durian encased in plastic

But the cat's reaction to the durian was clearly not disgust. She kept coming back. Eventually, I cut open the vacuum pack and put the durian in a bowl to thaw—declining to use the fancy black carton—and put the bowl on the stovetop, where the cat could be safely trusted not to roam. 

It looked like a lot of durian. But I was hungry, and the leftovers could always go back, double-wrapped, into the fridge or freezer. After a few minutes, I got a spoon and scraped off some of the half-frozen outer layer. It was custardy and still full of ice crystals, like durian ice cream—one of the first steps on the surprisingly short road that carried me, years and years ago now, from being curious about the appeal of the notorious fruit to being a durian enthusiast. 

Durian unleashed into a bowl

I left it to thaw for a few more minutes, then circled back for more. After a few cycles of scraping, the pit of the durian was peeping through the flesh. The crystals had melted, leaving something nearly as smooth as the portions I used to get from the guy hacking fruits open by the corner of Grand and Chrystie. There were not going to be any leftovers. 

Screenshot from the Hmm Weekly article showing part of the label of a bottle of Stewart's Shops PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE MILK

Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk at Stewart’s Shops

WE PRESENT A vintage accounting of a Journey into Liquid Flavor, presented on one of Indignity’s preceding publications, Hmm Weekly, via The Brick House collective, which has evolved into Flaming Hydra, wow.

From early childhood, I had learned through my television about the magical harmony of chocolate and peanut butter; character after character in the Reese’s ads was shocked and then delighted by the endless series of accidents through which a chocolate bar was accidentally dropped or driven or thrust into a jar of peanut butter: revelation!

The complete experience of Tom Scocca can be found right here.

This is an artificial intellect’s bungling and ham(burger)fisted pictorial regurgitation of the specifications for my masterpiece, the “Fried Green Tomato & Onions Two Ways Impossible™ Burger Whopper.” The green pepper/gloopy-looking part is supposed to be fried green tomato, and there’s red onions, which I would not have wanted for the fried onion part.

This Is My Entry for the Million-Dollar Whopper Contest

I DON’T GO to Burger King a lot, and, since they stopped selling their ersatz Jack In The Box tacos, when I am there—because I am starvin’ like Michelle Marvin (Triola)—I always order the same thing, a double cheeseburger. Economical, destroys my appetite. If I find myself near a McDonald’s in a similar way, in the grip of The Hunger, my go-to is two McDoubles, hold the cheese. Something about Mcdonald’s cheese, I dunno, it's plasticky or something, not a fan unless it’s on a Filet-O-Fish, which for me is in season right now on account of Lent, mackerel-snapper-wise, when McD’s usually does the two-fer on the Filet-O and no, that ain’t mackerel.

Anyway, sorry: Burger King! I can’t remember the last time I ate a Whopper, and the last time I thought I ate a Whopper I probably didn’t even eat a Whopper, it was probably a Whopper Jr., smaller and easier to handle. The Whopper is kinda The Flopper for me, it’s a very wide bun for the wide Whopper beef, or maybe it’s The Slopper, because I always lose part of the toppings as I attempt to ingest a standard-issue Whopper.

Look, I’m just trying to win a million dollars, that’s all I’m ever trying to do, and I thought my idea for a novel topper on an Impossible™ Burger Whopper was worth a shot; all the regular Whopper stuff plus onion rings, fried onions, and fried green tomatoes. I figure the Impossible Burger part could use the extra boost of fried stuff, you know? I don’t hold out a lotta hope for my Fried Green Tomato & Onions Two Ways Impossible™ Whopper in my bid for the semifinals, but here’s the odd AI-generated recitation of my contest toppings by the voice of whoever sings the current Burger Kings commercials. If you click on this, be advised Burger King might serve up some annoying offers for Whopper if you sign up for their app, which, I did, for a free Whopper, but I don’t get anything if you click on the Whopper thing. But, you know, for you, maybe, you could sign up for a free Whopper.

Screenshot of the page where the AI recites the toppings for my million-dollar whopper contest idea
This will link to the Whopper site for the audio of my Whopper-toppers.

UPDATE: Here’s the video, I was able to download it from the Whopper-page. This won’t go anywhere, you can stay right here and watch and listen to the artificial burgerspeak:


OWING TO A bunch of enthusiastic responses, next week we’re going to start posting the results of Joe MacLeod’s appeal to The Readers for help disposing of his price-club-purchased mega-reserve of oatmeal via a strategic cookie deployment. Thanks for the recipes, and get that glass or mug of cookie-accompanying beverage of choice ready as you witness some amateur cookie-baking! “Unsalted butter?” Wha?


New York City, March 14, 2024

★★★★ The plants went out on the balcony, down from their perches in the entryway or on top of the air conditioner, into the natural open air again. At midday it was warm enough in the streets to carry the light jacket without wearing it, and chilly enough down in the subway to put it on. A white haze hung over downtown. The sun backlit an unfinished tower, banded in blue glass, orange mesh construction barriers, and yellow drapery of some sort. A woman hurried along the street in swishing wind pants with a rangy red hound jogging behind her, nosing at the scents as it went. A high window flared like mica. A power washer chugged on the sidewalk, its hose leading down into the little sunken patio beside a townhouse stoop. Lunch in the shade of an outdoor dining shed called for a touch of an outdoor heater, so as not to keep jackets on. In the roadway of Columbus Avenue, a pigeon lay dead but not yet flattened. A young woman in a babydoll dress in the sun walked past an old woman wrapped in an overcoat in the shade. At nightfall a big rat with a stumpy-looking tail took its time retreating from the curbside trashbags to an opening in a fence, chirping a complaint or challenge as it went. The lights of the towers below the Park twinkled through the bare but dense branches. The moon had picked up a yellower tint than the pure white of the night before. 


Indignity morning podcast 2024 0315
A scale with a hand doing "thumbs up" gesture opposed by another hand also doing a "thumbs up" on the other side of the scale but weighing more even though they look the same

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WE PRESENT INSTRUCTIONS in aid of the assembly of sandwiches from New Presentation of Cooking with Timed Recipes, by Auguste Gay with the collaboration of Anne Page. Published in 1924, and now in the Public Domain and available at for the delectation of all.

For each sandwich
2 slices of buttered bread
1 tablespoon horseradish, chopped
2 tablespoons cooked red beets, chopped

Mix horseradish with the chopped beets. Spread on both buttered slices of bread. Place together and press lightly.

For each sandwich
2 slices of buttered bread
1 tablespoon mayonnaise sauce
1/2 tablespoon potato, cold boiled and chopped fine
1 tablespoon beets, cooked, chopped and cold

Mix the chopped potato and chopped beets together with the mayonnaise sauce. Spread on both slices of bread, put together and press lightly.

For each sandwich
2 slices of buttered bread
1 cooked red beet, medium size
2 boneless sardines in oil

Chop the beet and the sardines together. Spread on both slices of bread, put together and press lightly.

If you decide to prepare and attempt to enjoy a sandwich inspired by this offering, be sure to send a picture to 


The second printing of 19 FOLK TALES is now available for gift-giving and personal perusal! Sit in the strengthening sunshine with a breezy collection of stories, each of which is concise enough to read before the damp ground seeps through your blanket.

HMM WEEKLY MINI-ZINE, Subject: GAME SHOW, Joe MacLeod’s account of his Total Experience of a Journey Into Television, expanded from the original published account found here at Hmm DailyThe special MINI ZINE features other viewpoints related to an appearance on, at, and inside the teevee game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, available for purchase at SHOPULA.

INDIGNITY is a general-interest publication for a discerning and self-selected audience. We appreciate and depend on your support!