I Won’t Be Having One of Those

Sitting in my grandmother’s cramped Humbolt Park apartment, I remember being completely uncomfortable.  Sweating on the hot plastic sofa covers, nervously darting my eyes back and forth, hoping to escape the terrified scurries of what we liked to call “Grandma’s Pets” AKA roaches.  I hated visiting my father’s side of the family.  Not only was I trying to avoid the building’s resident insects, but grandma was old school; no juice with your food.  To a kid, that’s just nasty.  I needed something to wash down that spicy Latin food!

That Saturday, we were gathered to welcome my uncle to Chicago after living in Puerto Rico all his life.  I’d never met him, but “family” is extremely important to my father – it’s a Latino thing – so we all had to be there.

When he arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see that he had gifts for the kids!  Awesome – what kid doesn’t want presents?!  Immediately I pictured a doll dressed in traditional folklore attire, or at the very least, some flip-flops!

When he opened his luggage and pulled out the bag, I almost couldn’t contain my excitement.  He reached in and pulled out what looked like a bunch of little green balls growing on a stick.

Um, eww, that is NOT a present – it was more like a weed.

“Mandy, why the ugly face?” asked my dad.

“What is it?”

“They’re called quenepas.  It’s fruit – taste it.”

Yeah right, that is not fruit. Fruits are bananas, apples, and pears.  That wasn’t finding its way in my mouth.  But with the entire family now looking on, it appeared I didn’t have a choice.

The quenepa (pronounced kee-neh-pah) is a small green ball, about the size of a quarter.  The traditional way to eat them is to put the entire ball in your mouth, crack the thin shell, and chew the pulp off the seed.

My first taste was simply divine.  The gelatinous, fleshy pulp was juicy and mildly sweet.  It tasted like nothing I’ve known before and on that hot, summer day I was converted.  Now I anxiously await for family to visit – and bring me some quenepas!


This is my very first post for The Red Dress Club’s RemembeRED memoir series.  This week’s prompt was to write about your favorite fruit or vegetable.
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  1. I am here from “Wonder Wednesday Blog Hop”.

    I follow you on GFC. (Anja M.)
    I like you on Facebook. (Anja M.)
    I follow you on Twitter. (@anjathisandthat)

    Please visit me at: http://anjathisandthat.blogspot.com/2011/03/wonder-wednesday-blog-hop.html

  2. I’m a newbie to TRDC too, welcome!

    And I’ve never even *heard* of a quenepa! It doesn’t look delicious, but I’d be willing to try it if the opportunity ever arises, thanks to your post!

  3. My reaction would have been the same, but not sure I could have mustered the courage to try!

    I’m following you now!

  4. Millie Morgan Media says:

    I am a new follower from the Wednesday Blog Hop. You have a great blog and I look forward to reading more posts. I would really appreciate it if you checked out my blog and followed me as well. Thanks & Have a great day!

  5. I have a few kids, hesitant to try new foods, who might benefit from this read.

    Sounds yummy… I’m guessing I won’t find them at the local stop and shop, though, huh?

  6. It’s funny how we don’t want to try and then we do we are so glad! I’ve been there! I’ve never heard of this fruit. Makes me want to travel just to try new ones. :)

  7. This just proves we cannot judge a book by its cover. There are really great tasting fruits out there. Many of them don’t look very good either!

    Thanks for sharing. If you have a chance, please visit my site at http://www.voiceboks.com

  8. Hi! I’m a new follower from the blog hop! I would love it if you’d check out my blog at http://www.formulamom.com and follow back! Have a great day!

  9. I’ve never tasted one but certainly would like to after your experience! Good job!

  10. Dashing-Home says:

    Newest Follower via FMBT

  11. Hi! I’m your newest stalker from Tuesday follow. Would love a follow back. Looking forward to visiting again soon.
    I have never heard of this fruit.. I have a difficult time eating strange looking things.. jello – can’t even look at it!
    I’ve Become My Mother
    Kelly’s Ideas
    Amazing Salvation

  12. Hi a new follower from Tuesday Train. See you.

  13. I am following you (suelee1998) from the blog hop, you have a great site. Would you please follow me back? http://susansdisneyfamily.blogspot.com/
    thank you :)

  14. Me either.

  15. Hi! Glad to have you join the hop. I’m loving your blog header. Superwoman is right!! :)

  16. I’ve seen those before, but I’ve never tried them. The inside looks kind of like an egg yolk.

    Thanks for this story! It was fun to read. And now I really want to try these.

  17. I am a new follower from the Totally Tuesday Blog Hop, I would love it if you could follow me back. I hope you have a TERIFFIC Tuesday!!!!!

    By the way, I love your blog!!!


  18. I am a new follower from the Totally Tuesday Blog Hop, I would love it if you could follow me back. I hope you have a TERIFFIC Tuesday!!!!!


  19. I am blog hopping today and would really like for you to stop by (and become a follower if you aren’t already) at either of my blogs:

    So Stylilized is where I am currently offering FREE Custom Blog Designs at

    Jessicas Lil Corner is where I blog about life and family at http://jessicaslilcorner.blogspot.com

    I hope you have a happy and blessed Tuesday!!

    • Love your personal blog (haven’t visited the other…YET!) Jewel was playing in the background…LOVE her! Thanks for coming by.

  20. Hi!!
    I am your newest follower! I am stopping by from Follow Me Back Tuesday, come follow me as well if you like! :)


  21. Great post! I love the term Grandma’s pets! haha! Welcome to TRDC!

  22. Mmm- I love this post! I learned so much about you, your story and quenepa! Well done!

  23. Great job on the prompt! I’ve heard of this fruit, yet never tried it. Fun reading all the different prompts and learning new things about different fruits & veggies. I will put this one on my list.

  24. Hi there,
    Yep, I coulda told you… they are delicioso! I love them.
    I’m following your blog via the Follow Me Back Tuesday Blog Hop.
    Glad to connect with another blogger!