Persimmons, or Caqui in Portuguese: I first ate them in Beijing two years ago, when my husband and I were living in a tile-floored apartment in a student neighborhood near Tsinghua University. Once my Mandarin improved enough so that I could understand the prices that the fruit sellers quoted me, I bought them fresh by the half-dozen, and stored them at the back of the refrigerator for late-night feasts.
Cool, glistening orange purses, they reminded me of Lorca's injunction not to eat oranges under the moonlight -- nadie come naranjas bajo la luna llena -- but would the poet have allowed for persimmons instead? They cooled the back of my dust-bitten throat like nothing else.
Tonight, I eat them dried, purchased from one of those Canal Street stores where they sell unusual dried things, like bamboo shoots, abalone, and seaweed. The man who sold them to me didn't speak English, and I didn't remember enough Mandarin to even argue the price with him.