ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls, inspired by [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart talking about grapefruit spoons and [personal profile] alatefeline egging us on. Yes, really. It also fills the "apology / forgiveness" square in my 6-1-16 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest, and the "feast" square in my 7-1-15 card for the Winter Fest in July fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem is a celebration of fresh fruit from the perspective of someone who's had a crummy relationship with food. It's likely to make people hungry, so you might want to read it when you can go grab some fruit. People with food issues of their own may find it touchy. Please consider your tastes, headspace, and the contents of your kitchen before reading onward.


"The Best Time for Something Juicy"


Shiv was brushing his teeth at the sink
when he heard the viewscreen flick on
and Dr. Bloch said, "Good morning, Shiv,
would you like to join me for breakfast?"

Hastily Shiv rinsed his mouth and
scrambled out of the bathroom niche
to where he could see the viewscreen.

"You mean give me another chit for
the specialty cook?" Shiv said. "What for?"

"I mean come to the infirmary and sit down
with me," said Dr. Bloch. "I have brought
some things I think you'll like, and I'd prefer
to see your reaction in person."

"Uh ... okay," Shiv said. He was baffled, but
he had also learned that humoring Dr. Bloch
was a much better idea than annoying him.

Besides, it sounded like free food.

Mr. Vanburen came to let Shiv out
and walk him to the infirmary.

"Do you know what Dr. Bloch
got for breakfast?" Shiv asked,
jittering in circles around the guard
as they walked. "He didn't tell me."

"Then maybe he wants it to be
a surprise. You usually like
his surprises," said Mr. Vanburen.
"Stay in one place, please, or
you'll get us both in trouble."

Shiv slowed and dragged his hand
along the wall for a reminder, feeling
the bumps in the big cement blocks
and following the furrows between them.

"It's hard to settle before I've eaten," he said.

"I'm the other way around," Mr. Vanburen said.
"I can't hardly get going before breakfast."

When they reached the infirmary,
Dr. Bloch waved the guard away.

"We're going in back today,
to the nap room," he said to Shiv,
leading the way. "This is our space
to relax, so please respect it and
don't trash the place."

"Okay," Shiv said, stepping into
the little roomlet. It held a cot,
a couple of chairs, and a desk.

The desk had been pulled out into
the center of the room and piled with
every imaginable color of fruit.

"Breakfast is always the best time
for something juicy, sweet, and fresh,"
said Dr. Bloch. "It's a wonderful way
to start your day on the right foot."

Shiv saw strawberries, oranges, bananas,
grapefruit, green grapes, blueberries, and
purple grapes -- along with a bunch of others
that he could not even recognize.

One edge of the desk held bowls and plates,
a cutting board, a pair of knives, and
a few pieces of silverware.

"Let's start with some ground rules,"
said Dr. Bloch as they both sat down.
"Don't hurt yourself or anyone else.
Don't touch the knives without asking first.
Don't throw the food. Other than that, you may
explore it pretty much however you wish."

Shiv was so poleaxed by the idea
of being allowed to play with the food
that he had no idea how to respond.

But the other part grabbed his attention.
"And if I ask about the knives?"

"Then I'll demonstrate how to cut the fruit,
and you can try it next," Dr. Bloch said.

Shiv snorted. "Pretty sure that I
know more about knives than you do."

"With combat knives, I'm sure that's true,"
said Dr. Bloch. "These are kitchen knives,
they're different, and I doubt that you've
gotten much opportunity to learn them."

Shiv couldn't resist running his gift
along them, one short paring knife
and a longer one for slicing things.
The steel was vivid and brilliant in
his mind, the edges perfectly sharp.

"Maybe," he said. "Why are
you even doing this?"

Dr. Bloch sighed. "Dr. G and I
feel like we owe you an apology.
Mr. Vanburen mentioned that you
overheard our final argument with
the warden," he said. "I'm sorry for
that. We didn't mean to sideswipe you."

"You could just say sorry," Shiv said.
That was new enough that it still
felt weird when people did it.

"I thought that you might appreciate
a concrete apology more than just
a verbal one," Dr. Bloch said,
waving a hand at the food.

"Maybe," Shiv said.

"I know that you're not a big fan
of vegetables, but you do seem
to enjoy crisp and juicy things,"
said Dr. Bloch. "So I picked out
some that I hope you'll like."

Shiv couldn't stop looking at the food.
There was just so much of it, and it was
all so brightly colored, like a rainbow.

"It's pretty," he said.

Dr. Bloch smiled. "I aimed for
the most colorful fruit I could find,"
he said. "I thought that since you
enjoy art therapy so much, you might
find colors appetizing as well."

Shiv had never really thought of that,
but he had to admit that this stuff
looked a lot more interesting than
what came out of a can.

"Okay," he said. "I'm hungry,
I'll try just about anything."

"Do you know if you have any allergies
to foods?" Dr. Bloch asked. "If you do,
you might want to fill up on fruits that
you already like, and then pick
just one new thing to try."

"Nah, I'm good," Shiv said.
"I eat whatever I can get.
Can't afford to be picky, and
it hasn't killed me yet."

"All right, then, I'll trust your judgment,"
Dr. Bloch said. "What would
you like to try first?"

"The grapefruit?" Shiv said.
"I've only ever had the juice,
or chunks in a fruit salad."

"Grapefruit isn't on the standard menu,
but it's part of some special diets here,
so it's also available to anyone who
wants to spend points on a treat,"
Dr. Bloch said as he picked one up.
"We'll start with the red variety."

"There's different kinds?" Shiv said.

"Red is sweeter, white is sour,"
said Dr. Bloch, lifting the knife.

"It looks yellow," said Shiv.

"Wait until I cut it," said Dr. Bloch.
"Look for the stem and flower ends,
then slice the fruit in half between them."

When the fruit fell open around the knife,
it was indeed a pinkish-red inside.

Then Dr. Bloch handed Shiv a spoon.
"You'll need to modify this," he said.
"I couldn't find a grapefruit spoon;
the kitchen serves them already cut,
using a special curved knife." He used
his tablet computer to show Shiv a picture.
"Serrate the edges of the spoon like this."

"Why not just buy one?" Shiv asked.
"You're a doctor, you've got money."

"Because this way encourages
you to use your superpower for
a basic life skill, feeding yourself,"
Dr. Bloch said. "You need practice."

"I won't get in trouble for making
something sharp?" Shiv asked.
He wanted to, he was just worried
about people getting mad over it.

"It should be partly sharp, like
a butter knife; not fully sharp,
like a paring knife," Dr. Bloch said.

Shiv looked at the picture and tried
to make the spoon like it. "Is this right?"

"Let's find out," Dr. Bloch said,
taking the spoon from him.

He used fiddly little motions to poke
around one section and pry it out.
He popped the bite into his mouth.
"Oh, that tastes good. The end of
the spoon needs to be pointier, though."

So Shiv concentrated on pulling
the end smaller, like a gator's nose.
He even imagined the little points
looking like gator teeth. "Okay?"

Dr. Bloch tried the spoon again.
"Perfect," he declared. He washed it --
he'd brought bottled water and napkins --
which was an unnecessary fuss. Then he
handed it Shiv and said, "Your turn."

It wasn't as easy as it looked
to cut the sections out of the rind,
but Shiv managed. The fruit
tasted bright and sharp.

"I like it," he said.
It didn't take long for him
to finish his half. "Now what?"

"I'd like to borrow that spoon
so I can eat mine," Dr. Bloch said.
"You pick out something new to try."

Shiv gave him the spoon, and
stared at the spread, uncertain
what to reach for next.

Dr. Bloch waited a minute, then
nudged a lumpy fruit toward him.
"Try this one," he suggested.

"That one looks rotten," Shiv said,
wrinkling his nose over the blotchy rind.

"It's not rotten," Dr. Bloch said.
"It's supposed to look that way."

"It's ugly."

Dr. Bloch laughed. "That is
actually its name, ugli fruit,
although it's spelled with an I
instead of with a Y." He showed
Shiv on his tablet computer.

"At least they're honest," Shiv said.
He poked tentatively at the ugli fruit.

"Go ahead and try it," Dr. Bloch said.
"If you don't like it, I'll finish it."

To Shiv's surprise, the thick peel
came off easily, and the flesh
inside was sweet and juicy,
something like an orange.

"Okay, that's not bad," he said.

"I'm happy to hear that,"
Dr. Bloch said with a smile.

Shiv picked up some of the berries,
sampling different ones. They were
sweeter than the citrus had been.

Wary though he was, he couldn't
resist asking. "Can I touch the knives?"

Dr. Bloch passed him the longer one
and another grapefruit. "Cut this
white one like I did the red."

Shiv looked for the nubby ends
and then sliced it down the middle.
This one was pale yellow inside.
That really was a good knife, too.

"Some people like grapefruit with
salt or sugar," Dr. Bloch said as he
pushed a bowl of packets toward Shiv.

The white grapefruit was far more sour
than the red, with a bitter edge. Shiv
tried dressing it up with sugar, then
salt, which helped some, but ...

"Try adding a pinch of salt to
the sugar," Dr. Bloch said.

Shiv was willing to try anything
that might make white grapefruit
a little bit more edible.

"Hey, that's good," he said
after tasting it. "Why is it
so much better this way?"

"That's approximately the mix of
sugar and salt in electrolyte drinks,"
said Dr. Bloch. "Your body knows
what's good for it, if you listen --
even cravings have their meaning."

"Huh," Shiv said, and finished
the rest of his grapefruit. There
had been a page on cravings, too.

After that, he went back to picking
at the berries, this time sampling
both colors of grapes. He was
slowing down from the first rush,
but still nowhere near full.

"Would you like to earn some points?"
Dr. Bloch asked, leaning forward.

"Doing what?" Shiv asked,
a little suspicious of the offer.

Dr. Bloch opened a drawer,
then pulled out a stack of paper
and a box of colored pencils.

"I printed these for you," he said. "They
are worth more due to the health content."

Shiv looked at them. There was
a chart identifying all kinds of fruit,
some new word cards and pictures,
and a page about seasonal fruit.

They were so colorful, like
the food itself, that he flipped
through to see the colors move.

There was even a color wheel and
something about eating the rainbow.
Those came with coloring pages
and a worksheet of circles labeled
red, orange, yellow, green, purple.

Looking at the circle worksheet,
Shiv picked up a few strawberries
and blueberries, dropped them on
his plate, and hunted for more colors.

Then he hesitated. Playing with food
tended to get his hands smacked.

"Go ahead," Dr. Bloch urged him.
"See if you can finish the rainbow."

There were orange slices, and orangy cubes
that Dr. Bloch called papaya, which had
an intense taste that made Shiv grimace.

There were green and purple grapes
to go along with the blueberries.

"There's no yellow in little pieces,"
Shiv said, frowning over the plate.

"That's easy to fix," Dr. Bloch said
as he picked up the pineapple.
"We can just chop this up."

Shiv had never eaten a whole one,
just seen them in the grocery store.
The only pineapple that he had
ever gotten came out of a tin can.

"How?" Shiv wondered.

"First check that it's ripe,"
said Dr. Bloch. "It should smell
sweet and be firm, but yield when
squeezed." He offered it to Shiv.

"It's prickly," Shiv said,
grinning as he tried it.
Then he handed it back.

"Twist the leaves off.
Cut off the top and bottom,"
said Dr. Bloch as he worked.

"Uh huh," Shiv said, watching.

"Slice off the rind. Then cut
the pulp into quarters." Dr. Bloch
pointed to the inside. "This is the core,
here, and it's woody; slice that off too.
Cut the quarters into eighths."

Then he passed the knife
and the pineapple to Shiv.
"Now cut those long pieces
into little bite-sized bits."

Shiv was plenty used to handling
knives, but not sloppy wet fruit.
He got the job done, although
the chunks weren't very even.

"Good work," said Dr. Bloch.
"Now finish your rainbow."

Shiv added the pineapple
to his colorful curve of fruit.

"This other page says white,"
he read, looking around
for something suitable.

"Try the lychees," said Dr. Bloch.

"Leeches?!" Shiv yelped.

"Lee ... cheez," Dr. Bloch said slowly.
"These things with bumpy red rind
are white inside. If you've eaten at
a Chinese buffet, you've probably
seen them in the salad bar."

He peeled one and handed it to Shiv.

It was mellow and sweet. "Oh yeah,
I do recognize these," said Shiv.
"They're not as chewy as I remember,
though. They're a lot crispier."

"These are fresh," Dr. Bloch said,
peeling another and putting it on
Shiv's plate under the rainbow.

They were really good.
Shiv ate a couple more, then
tried the papaya again.

"I thought you didn't care for
that one," Dr. Bloch said.

"I don't," Shiv said, grimacing.

"You don't have to eat the ones
that you don't like," Dr. Bloch said.

"I heard you," Shiv said. "I just
want to know if I can, in case
that's all there is some time."

He followed it up with a lychee, though.

"You should have a worksheet about
which fruits you like, if you want
to fill that out," said Dr. Bloch.

"What for?" Shiv said, leafing
through the stack again.

"That's up to you," said Dr. Bloch.
"Ten points for the page if you
do it for academic interest ... or
five per answer if you let me
log those as dietary information."

"That's ... a lot ..." Shiv said,
looking at the page full of fruit.

"Add it up, if you like," Dr. Bloch said.

Laboriously Shiv counted out
all the lines. "Sixty?"

"That's right," said Dr. Bloch.
"If you tell me what you like, then I
may be able to get more of it for you."

"What's durian?" Shiv said,
peering at the worksheet.

Dr. Bloch grimaced. "I didn't
bring any of that," he said.
"Most people find it disgusting,
because it smells like garbage."

Shiv laughed. "Now I want to try it.
I've eaten enough garbage to know
that some tastes better than it smells."

"Fine, then put a question mark on
that line and I'll count it," said Dr. Bloch.

Shiv did that, and then wrote
Want to try this along the edge.

He filled in the rest of the worksheet,
then wondered, "Why bother with this?
It's not like I get much choice in food."

"As I said, I can help you with that,"
Dr. Bloch repeated. "I'm concerned
that you're not eating properly."

Shiv just shrugged.

Dr. Bloch reached out to clasp
his wrist, and Shiv pulled away.
"Cut it out," he said.

"Sorry, I should have asked first,"
said Dr. Bloch. "Take me out of
a medical context and I forget some
of my boundary points because
the markers aren't the same."

"What did you want it for?"
Shiv asked, shifting in place.

"Measuring your wrist is one of
the least annoying ways to check
whether your weight is reasonable for
the size of your frame," said Dr. Bloch.
"I have this nagging suspicion that
we may not be feeding you enough."

"What?" Shiv said, rolling his eyes.
"You feed me almost every time that
I come in here! It's not like you can
fill up the bottomless pit, I'm just
always hungry. I'm used to it."

"Here, have a banana," said Dr. Bloch.
"If you're not getting enough to eat,
that is a problem I can fix."

Shiv wavered over it, because
he didn't want to get spoiled and
food wasn't always easy to come by,
but on the other hand ... extra food.

He sighed and held out his arm.
"Go ahead, then," he said.

Dr. Bloch wrapped a hand around
his wrist for a moment, then let go.

"I had your height and weight already,
so I just needed the frame size," he said.
"I can estimate that in my head, and you're
running low. Considering your superpower,
I would say you need more calories."

"I guess," Shiv said. He spied
a fuzzy brown thing. "What's this?
It looks like a road apple."

"That's a kiwi," said Dr. Bloch,
letting him change the subject.
"You can peel it, or just scoop it."
He demonstrated both methods.

The pulp was a startling green
flecked with tiny black seeds,
sweet-tart and very juicy.

"It's good," Shiv decided. "Kind of
like a gigantic, lemony grape."

"Use the back of your worksheet
if you want to write that down,"
said Dr. Bloch. "I'll count it."

Shiv's gaze flicked across the desk,
trying to count up all the kinds of fruit,
but he couldn't keep track of them all.
So he just drew a kiwi and a smiley face.

"There's passionfruit," Dr. Bloch said,
pointing out a round purple thing.
"You liked that flavor in soda."

Shiv pounced on it, then said,
"How do I eat this one?"

"Cut it open and scoop out
the pulp," said Dr. Bloch.
He demonstrated, then
offered Shiv the knife.

It was a little tricky to cut
the thick rind without losing
the sloppy blob of seeds inside,
but once he got to them,
they were delicious.

"Yeah, I like passionfruit
this way too," said Shiv.

"Write it down," said Dr. Bloch.
"Have you thought about how
different foods make you feel?
Can you think of anything that
upsets your digestion or maybe
gives you some extra energy?
You should have worksheets
for those observations too."

Shiv found them, pictures
of a boy with thought clouds
to write or draw inside.

"It's not exactly an allergy ..."
Shiv said, thinking it over.

"I'm listening," said Dr. Bloch.

"I don't like the way turkey
makes me feel," Shiv admitted,
putting that on the page of bad foods.
"I can eat it if I have to, and a slice or
two on a sandwich isn't too bad, but if I
fill up on it then I feel bloated and slow."

"Hmm," said Dr. Bloch. "Does
the same thing happen with soy?"

Shiv shuddered. "Yeah, but I hate
the taste, so I don't eat it unless I have to."

"It's probably the tryptophan,"
said Dr. Bloch. "That can make
people feel relaxed, or even drowsy."

Whatever that was. Shiv found it easier
just avoiding turkey if there was anything else
to eat, and avoiding Thanksgiving entirely.

"What about foods that make you
feel good?" Dr. Bloch asked.

"Coffee," Shiv said, happily drawing
a steamy cup on his worksheet.

"Can you think of anything that
is not literally a liquid stimulant?"
Dr. Bloch said, watching him draw.

Shiv racked his brain. "Sardines?"
he said. "Food pantries have that a lot,
but not everyone likes it, so I can get
as much as I want. They stick to my ribs
and help keep my energy from crashing."

"Put those down," said Dr. Bloch.

Shiv did so, but that reminded him of
some families he'd stayed with, and
that was not a good place in his head.

"Now you look tense," said Dr. Bloch.
"Here, play with this." He handed
Shiv a soft orange blob that was
covered in blunt little spikes.

Grinning, Shiv rolled it between
his palms. "What is this thing?"
he asked. "It's really neat."

"Horned melon," said Dr. Bloch.
"If you cut it in half, you can
suck the seeds out of it."

Shiv cut it open, and found it
full of pale green pulp.

When he tried to eat it, though,
he wound up with seeds dripping
all down his face and front.

It was funny for a moment,
and then he froze, snared by
memories of angry mom-ladies.

Dr. Bloch just handed him a napkin.

Shiv mopped himself off as best he could,
but the seeds were covered in little gobs
of green jelly. They got all over his hands
as he tried to pick them off, juicy and sticky.

"What do you think?" Dr. Bloch asked
as Shiv struggled with the mess.

"It's sloppy, but it tastes good," he said.
"Like a cross between cucumber and banana."

Shiv tried the papaya again. It was
getting a bit less overwhelming.

"Would you like to try something
a little more adventurous?"
Dr. Bloch offered.

Shiv looked at the bits of fruit
scattered everywhere and
the half-eaten rainbow on
his plate. He picked up
the last piece of pineapple
and said, "Sure, why not?"

Dr. Bloch carefully cleaned off
the cutting board and said, "If I'm going
to butcher a live, struggling mango,
then I need plenty of room."

Shiv laughed. "It's not --
well, I guess fruit is alive,
but it isn't going to struggle."

"Says a man who has never
met a mango," Dr. Bloch replied
as he picked up a bean-shaped fruit
that was green, yellow, and orange.
"Always take care with these things,
because they can turn on you."

Standing it on end, he used
the long knife to slice off one side,
revealing brilliant yellow-orange flesh.

When he tried to cut the other side,
though, the knife slipped --

-- and Shiv froze it in midair
just before the blade touched skin.

Dr. Bloch stared at him,
his right hand still resting on
the suddenly immovable knife.

"Thank you," he said, carefully moving
the fruit away from the sharp edge.
"This is hard without a mango pitter."

"Yeah, maybe I should just
do this one," Shiv said.

"Perhaps you're right,"
Dr. Bloch agreed, passing
him the troublesome fruit.

Shiv felt the huge, hard pit
in the middle and simply used that
to shave the pulp away from it.

Dr. Bloch's mouth fell open
as the orange flesh slumped
onto the cutting board, leaving
behind a nearly-dry pit. "Now
how in the world did you do that?
Mangoes aren't a freestone fruit!"

"I just, you know --" He touched
the pit again, sliding a sharp scale of
its shell against itself. "-- like shaving?"

"So that's how you were getting
the rib bones so clean," Dr. Bloch muttered.
"I've seen you eating them in the cafeteria,
and I wondered how you got all the meat off."

The barbecued ribs served there were
more gristle than meat, but when Shiv
was hungry he didn't care. Of course
he'd used his gift to get all the food
off the bones, even though nobody
else could do much with them.

The mango tasted amazing,
though, tropical in a way that
Shiv couldn't name, potent and
sweet, almost overpowering.

He alternated it with bits of banana
to take the edge off a little, then
discovered that papaya wasn't
as intense when mixed with
other types of fruit.

It was really good.

"Too bad I didn't think to bring
some shredded coconut, you're
most of the way to making yourself
a fruit salad there," said Dr. Bloch.

Shiv stared at his fingers,
sticking them together and
prying them apart. "This
feels like paint, or glue."

"Mango pulp can stain,"
Dr. Bloch said with a nod.
"Try not to get it on the room,
you're a lot more washable."

"How did I get this messy?"
Shiv said, looking down at himself.
He wasn't a baby. He knew how
to eat neatly, really he did.

"Some fruits just do that,"
Dr. Bloch said. "I'll write you
a prescription for a shower."

"Yeah, I'm gonna need it,"
Shiv said. He ate the rest
of the rainbow and then
the fruit salad, but he
was still kind of hungry.

"Looking for something else?"
Dr. Bloch asked as Shiv
rummaged through the fruit.

"I uh ..." Shiv hesitated,
wondering if he was about
to have an Oliver Twist moment.
"I wondered if you had any meat,
or if it's just fruit for breakfast."

"I put the fruit out first, because
it's the main idea and also I ran out of
room on the desk," said Dr. Bloch.

"Tummy still wants meat," Shiv admitted.

"Well then, it's a good thing that I
thought to bring some Canadian bacon
as well," Dr. Bloch said. "Give me
a minute to go and heat it up."

The door clicked quietly behind him,
and Shiv realized that it didn't have
the same kind of buzzer lock that
most of the prison doors did.

He was locked into the infirmary,
but not into this specific room.

Automatically his superpower
swept out, fondling all of
the sharp things that
he could go steal.

Then his senses snagged on
another fruit, bright reddish-purple
with green-tipped spiky things.

He was still turning it over and over
in his hands when Dr. Bloch came back.

"What's this one?" Shiv asked.

"That's dragon fruit," Dr. Bloch said
as he set down two containers. "You like
prickly pear, and this is another cactus fruit,
so I thought you might like it too."

"Doesn't look like the dragon fruit
I've had before," Shiv said.

"What kind did you have before?" said Dr. Bloch.

"It's in the Fruity Health Foodie flavor of
Jumble Munch. Some lady I stayed with
used to like that stuff," said Shiv. "It's good,
though, kind of like purple orange peel."

"That's dried, this is fresh," said Dr. Bloch.
"That usually makes a lot of difference."

Shiv was learning that fresh fruit
really was different than dried
or canned or frozen stuff.

"How do we open it?" he asked.

"Cut it in half and scoop out
the pulp," Dr. Bloch said.

The pink fruit opened up
to show shocking white pulp
with little black seeds speckling it.

Shiv poked it with a finger,
then licked the wet spot.
"Doesn't taste like much."

"It has a very delicate flavor,"
Dr. Bloch said as he chopped
the pulp into chunks. "Try again."

When Shiv put a piece in his mouth,
it had a slightly stronger taste, like
a creamy kiwi. "Yeah, okay,"
he said, taking another.

Dr. Bloch popped the lids
off of the containers. One held
hand-sized slabs of bacon, and
the other had whitish chunks.

"Here, eat your bacon before
it gets cold," he said. "I also
brought some gouda cheese.
It's good with most fruits."

Shiv forked four of the six slices
of pink meaty bacon onto his plate,
then hovered over the fifth, hesitating.

"You fill up first, and I'll finish whatever
is left," Dr. Bloch reminded him, taking
another dragon fruit for himself and
cutting into the pink rind. Then
he scooped out the flesh.

Shiv took the fifth slice but left
the last one behind. He might not
like sharing his own food, but he still
knew better than to hog anyone else's.
He was a supervillain, not a pig.

"That one's yours," he said,
pushing it toward Dr. Bloch.

"Thank you," said Dr. Bloch.
"Have you ever tried eating
complete proteins instead of
meat? Beans and rice, maybe?"

"Yeah no, my body doesn't do
that trick," Shiv said. "I mean, I like
beans and rice fine, but if I don't get
some meat, then I'm hungry again
half an hour later, no matter how much
I eat." He sighed. "But nobody ever
believes me about that part."

"How much meat do you need?"
Dr. Bloch asked, making a note.

"Uh ... not a lot, actually, just like
a couple sausage links at breakfast or
a piece of meatloaf at supper," Shiv said.

"How often?" Dr. Bloch pressed.

"Whenever I can get it," Shiv said as
the skin between his shoulders tightened.
"Once a day, or my appetite just won't
shut off. Twice is better. Every meal if
I'm lucky, but I'm usually not that lucky."

"This isn't about luck, this is about
making sure we feed you properly,"
Dr. Bloch said, glancing up from
his tablet. "If you tell me what you
need, I can arrange for you to get it."

Shiv licked his lips. "I really don't need
a lot," he said, "but if you're offering,
then yeah, I'll take whatever I can get."

The Canadian bacon was salty and meaty,
not as fatty as he was used to getting.

"Mmm," Dr. Bloch said. "Let's try
one serving of meat per meal, and
see how you do on that."

Shiv had no idea, on account of
he couldn't remember the last time
he'd had that, if he ever had.

There was always plenty of food
back at Blues Moon, but half the time
he was too busy to stop and eat it.
Either breakfast or lunch usually
came down to grabbing some nuts
out of a nibble bowl, or a candy bar,
or whatever street food he could find.

"Nice of you to offer," Shiv said.

"If you don't need a great deal of meat,
have you tried adding just a bit of it to
beans and rice?" asked Dr. Bloch.

"Yeah, that works," said Shiv. "I like
ham'n'beans, that's our Thursday special,
comes in a bottomless cornbread bowl.
One or two of those, and I'm good."

A wave of homesickness swept over him,
sudden and fierce. He pushed it aside.

Shiv tried the cheese next, which was
cut in cubes so it looked like dice
without the spots on them.

The flavor was mellow and smooth,
which he liked, and it cut the stronger taste
of the papaya and mango down to something
that didn't overwhelm his senses so much.

He was starting to feel weird, though,
and he didn't know why. He nudged
the last bite of bacon with his fork.

"You might want to slow down and
check your appetite," Dr. Bloch said.
"Eating too much can get uncomfortable."

Oh, right. Shiv knew that, really,
but it had been so long since he'd
gotten a chance to overeat that he
had forgotten to watch out for it.

He finished his bacon, then pushed
the plate away. "I think I'm full."

"Wonderful," said Dr. Bloch.
He looked over the desk, then
wrote something else on his tablet.

There wasn't very much left of
that giant pile of fruit, except
for some peels and pits.

Shiv was pretty stuffed.

"You need to remember
to pay attention to your body,"
Dr. Bloch said, as Shiv shifted in
his chair, trying to get comfortable.

That was something Shiv
mostly tried not to do, except
when playing with switchblades.

"You've thought of something,"
Dr. Bloch said, watching him closely.

"Yeah, but I'm not going to cut myself
eating fruit," Shiv said with a smirk.

Dr. Bloch glanced at the remains
of the mango. "You're sure
about that, are you?"

"Well, not unless I'm butchering
more mangoes," said Shiv.
"Mangoes are the devil."

But they were so tasty.

"That they are," Dr. Bloch agreed.
"Just remember that gorging on food
is a bad idea, unless you actually have
a superpower for it. Frontloading and
backloading speed the metabolism."

"Huh," said Shiv. He leaned back
one fingertip idly tapping the tip of
the grapefruit spoon to make it rock.

"You did an excellent job of
crafting that," said Dr. Bloch.

"Guess I should put it back
like it was," Shiv said glumly.

"No, you don't have to," said Dr. Bloch.
"You may keep it in the craft room with
your other metalwork, or leave it
here, whichever you prefer."

"Here," Shiv said instantly.

He'd had a sharp reminder that
nothing and nowhere was safe, but
he thought people would be less likely
to mess with anything in the infirmary
than stuff left in the craft room.

Especially with Dr. Bloch standing guard.

Careful as he could be with patients,
Shiv had seen his temper now, and that
put Dr. Bloch on his Do Not Fuck With list.

"There are plenty of other fruit tools, too,"
Dr. Bloch said, showing Shiv a catalog
on the tablet computer. "I bet that
you could make a pitting spoon --
it's similar to the grapefruit one."

Shiv looked at the sharp, curved spoon.
"Yeah, I could probably do that. But
seriously, what's with all the fruit?"

"Did you enjoy it?" Dr. Bloch asked.

"It was great," Shiv said, waving
a hand over the almost-empty desk.

"I'm trying to make it possible for you
to eat better. That includes filling gaps
I'm pretty sure some other people left in
your health education," said Dr. Bloch.
"On that note, I suggest this worksheet."

That one asked about the best fruit.
It was meant for writing, not drawing,
but it didn't have too many lines on it.

Shiv tapped the green pencil against
he lower lip as he thought about it.

There had been so many things,
and most of them had been terrific.
The papaya was a little much, but
Shiv could eat that if he had to.

He had loved the pineapple and
the lychees. The horned melon was
as much fun to touch as to taste, and
the dragon fruit had been fascinating.

Finally he decided on the horned melon
and wrote that down. The worksheet
wanted three reasons why it was good.
Shiv wrote down "It's spiky," and "It tastes
like cucumber and banana," then stalled out.

"Stuck for ideas?" asked Dr. Bloch.

"Yeah," Shiv said, using the orange and
green pencils to sketch a horned melon
in the bottom space since he'd already
written its name in the top one.

"Want some help?" said Dr. Bloch.

"Okay," Shiv said, because he
sure wasn't getting anywhere himself.

"Horned melon is a healthy food
because it has lots of Vitamin A
and Vitamin C," said Dr. Bloch.

Shiv wrote that down before he could forget.

Dr. Bloch reached for the corner of the page.
"Ten points if you want to count this only for
academic practice. Twenty if you let me
log it as a high-value treat that isn't candy."

Shiv looked at the empty, curling hulls
of the horned melons they'd eaten.
He licked his lips, remembering
the vivid flavor of the seed pulp.

"I'll take the twenty," he said,
pushing the page toward Dr. Bloch.

It stuck to his fingers.

Dr. Bloch chuckled. "Come on,
he said. "I'll sign off that shower
for you, and send Nurse Scott
in here to clean up -- I traded him
some of the grapes earlier so that
I could get back on the floor after this."

When Shiv stood up, he was surprised
to see that his belly stuck out a little
above his waistband. "Wow."

"You might want to lie down
for an hour or two when you get
back to your room," said Dr. Bloch,
patting him gently on the shoulder.
"After that, visit the gym and put
those calories to good use. I'll set
an alarm so you don't sleep to lunch."

"Okay," Shiv said. He felt lazy, but
also like there was energy waiting
that just hadn't fizzed up yet. "Hey, doc,
about the argument that I overheard?"

"Yes?" Dr. Bloch said.

"We're square," Shiv said,
offering his hand.

Dr. Bloch squeezed it,
then ushered him toward
the accessible shower room.

As much as Shiv had enjoyed
the fruit, there was something about
forgiveness that also seemed ...

... almost sweet.

* * *

Notes:

"Breakfast is always the best time for something juicy, sweet and fresh - it just feels like the right way to open the day. There's no right way, though, when it comes to choosing the fruit."
-- Yotam Ottolenghi

There is a nap room for the staff in the back of the infirmary.

Eating more fruit has many benefits. It's fun for the family, too. There are tips for encouraging kids to eat more fruit and try new foods. Shiv gets choice paralysis easily, but he's actually enthusiastic about trying new foods, because he has almost never had enough. Any new edible thing is therefore appealing. Ideally, try breaking it down into small steps and reward any progress. Here are some lesson plans and word cards for fruits and vegetables. Shiv has never had anyone pitch a food lesson directly to his interests like this, and it's working a lot better than the shit treatment he's had in the past.

Messy play is essential for healthy development. It offers diverse benefits. Part of Shiv's problem is simply that he's been punished for following instincts to explore his environment, which has left him with stunted coping skills and lousy eating habits. But there's still enough left that Dr. Bloch can coax it into action, it just takes more work to get Shiv going and reassure him that he won't get slapped for it. Here are some tools and activities for messy play.

Playing with food is how kids learn about flavors, colors, and textures of edible stuff. Parents often object strenuously to this behavior, and then wonder why they've got picky eaters. 0_o Here are some suggestions for food play. Another key factor is simply to offer new foods repeatedly, because it often takes many tries before children learn to like something. Shiv has actually noticed this, and you can see him trying to level-grind his way to liking papaya.

Shiv is "mouthy" in the dog or horse sense, meaning he licks and chews things a lot -- that's a key reason he loves both cigarettes and nicotine suckers. This is also a symbol of submission, and many other forms of communication. Here's an example in horsemanship.

Kitchen knives come in many styles. A good all-purpose pair would include a larger and a smaller knife. I have tiny hands which means I use a short or long paring knife for almost everything -- regular knives are too big for me. Know how to choose kitchen knives.

In order to be sincere, an apology should cover the important parts. Shiv can't even manage to say the words, or most other direct social phrases, because all his earlier memories of them suck. But modeling helps him understand how this is supposed to go, and if you watch closely, you can see him substituting more oblique phrases for the usual ones. A true apology should consider the different languages of apology. What I call a concrete apology is sometimes phrased as restitution or making amends: an object or service which either undoes the original problem or at least makes up for it. Frex, if you break someone's favorite dish, you might buy a replacement. A verbal apology wouldn't change the lack of dish. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering an apology. Know of ways to teach kids to apologize and to apologize yourself.

Grapefruit comes in multiple varieties with lots of health benefits. To eat a grapefruit, you cut it in half and use a spoon. A serrated grapefruit spoon helps remove the wedges. Alternatively, you can use a grapefruit knife to cut all the wedges before serving the fruit.

Here's an electrolyte recipe. Because of the body's electrolyte balance, sugar and salt -- especially together -- can greatly change how foods taste.

Ugli fruit is dumpy but nutritious. You can eat one much the way you'd eat an orange.

Exotic fruits can be found at specialty stores or online. They're somewhat easier to find in T-America, not to mention cheaper, due to subsidies for healthy foods. Buying clubs and charity food programs typically have a fruit-and-veggie box.

Know what to look for when choosing fruits and vegetables.

Despite Shiv's crappy experiences with school in the past, he does very well with visual worksheets and with manipulatives. See the fruit identification chart, fruit matching cards, seasonal fruit explanation, seasonal fruit chart, and nutrition facts.

The Eat a Rainbow program presents a color wheel of food which encourages people to eat different colors of food. It explains why each color is beneficial. It offers worksheets on the food rainbow, fruits to color, and color circles. Shiv responds well to bright colors in many different contexts. Here is a lesson plan for Eat a Rainbow.

Papaya is a nutritious tropical fruit. These things can be huge -- bigger than a football! The flavor is intense, so not everyone likes it, especially alone; but it makes a terrific addition to fruit salad or juices. Learn how to eat papayas.

Pineapple is also good for you. Know how to test for ripeness and cut up a pineapple. You can see that Dr. Bloch also looked for fruits with a lot of sharp, bumpy, fuzzy, or prickly texture on the outside. Shiv's previously impoverished sensory diet in the prison has not been helping anything. Give him something interesting to fool around with, and he'll wake up and behave better.

Lychees are healthy oriental fruits. Read about eating them.

Shiv also has worksheets on likes and dislikes, listening to your body, and food cravings.

Estimating body frame can help gauge a healthy weight. There are, of course, much more precise methods and unlike most doctors, Dr. Bloch would happily provide them. But he knows Shiv won't sit still for the more elaborate stuff. This influences calorie requirements, which climb along with exertion. It's not rare for soups to need two to four times as much food as ordinary people. All that energy has to come from somewhere, and calories are a method that most soups can use. Shiv has been nearly starving for most of his life, first due to disadvantaged circumstances, and more recently because his superpowers run up the demand on his body.

Bananas are rich and filling fruit. There are many ways to eat bananas.

Kiwi fruit is full of nutrients. Learn how to eat kiwis.

Passionfruit is what you get if you let a passionflower go to seed. It is soothing and healthy, but can be messy to eat. Try some anyway.

Teaching Shiv about helpful foods involves getting him to think about which ones make him feel good or bad.

Tryptophan is the part of turkey that nails your ass to the couch. Soy is another food with lots of it. Great if you're nervous and want to calm down, but not so fun if that slow feeling scares you. Some people are more sensitive to this than others, and it works best on an empty stomach, which is usually true for Shiv.

Sardines are crammed with nutrients for high energy. They're also cheap and easy to get.

Horned melon is a funny-looking fruit that is good for you. See how to eat one.

Mango is a bean-shaped tropical fruit with lots of nutrition. It comes in many varieties, which vary in fiber and flavor. Some of them will try to kill you, and unfortunately those are the most popular commercial kinds. This is why my favorite is the Alphonso. Learn how to cut a mango: carefully. A mango pitter is useful if you process many mangoes.

Tropical fruit salad can be made in many ways. This one includes lychees. Here's another with kiwi and mango. The Sunshine Tropical Fruit Salad uses pineapple.

Dragon fruit comes from a cactus and is one of the strangest fruits on the market. Find out how to eat it.

The Fruity Health Foodie flavor of Jumble Munch includes dried white mulberries, dried goji berries, dried wild barberries, dried bilberries, dried yacon slices, dried dragon fruit, banana chips, cinnamon apple chips, organic mixed nuts, date energy balls, and paleo granola clusters.

Canadian bacon is also known as back bacon, very meaty and delicious. Read about how to cook it.

Here the worksheet on the best fruit.

Check out the Blues Moon recipes for Ham'n'Beans and Sourdough Cornbread Bowls. Sourdough makes a nice durable crust, perfect for bread bowls.

Many types of cheese go well with fruit.

Fruit tools include pitting spoons and other gadgets.

Life skills include a wide range of knowledge and techniques necessary for everyday accomplishments. This assessment focuses on people with disabilities or other challenges. It's also a good choice for prison inmates, most of whom have huge gaps in their education. This handbook presents a number of skills and signs of their mastery. The matching parent guide offers many exercises for teaching and learning life skills. This manual helps people learn life skills. Here are some general guidelines on teaching life skills and broader ideas to improve your life.

In order for people to have any chance of success after leaving prison, they need effective life skills. Few of them have such skills, which contributes to their misbehavior. This study discusses inmate experiences of educational opportunities, both outside and inside prison, revealing many of the same problems that Shiv faces. Some prisons offer a good range of life skills training. These programs have dramatic benefits for inmates and society. Because many people oppose doing anything for inmates, including education, many of those programs get shortchanged. Another barrier in local-America is that prisoners are almost always expected to pay for their own education, which means minimal participation because most of them are broke. In Terramagne, all of the classes offered through the prison are free, and they often have affiliates offering free or steeply discounted classes, such as through a local college. Distance learning from unrelated sources may charge its usual fees, although some programs offer discounts or pro bono classes for inmates. When prisons don't educate inmates, everyone pays the price. It helps that in T-America, all the basics (food, clothing, toiletries, health care, etc.) and modest access to luxuries (library, gym, entertainment, etc.) must be provided for free, while inmates earn more not with cash but with prosocial behavior. Those who choose to work can earn credentials and the same minimum wage as anyone else. So there's no conflict between work and education. Consequently they have higher rates of educational growth and lower rates of recidivism. Here are some activities for teaching life skills in prison.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-27 05:37 am (UTC)
alexseanchai: Purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
*clappyhands*

*...goes gets apple*

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-11-27 05:48 am (UTC)
alexseanchai: Purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
Unfortunately it's past apple season, so this is a very small apple imported from whereverthehell instead of bought decently sized from the orchard ten miles away. (But the other choices available to me at this moment are "pour a glass of orange juice" and "open a can of something", where the only option for "something" might be pineapple slices, I'm not 100% sure.)

So why's Shiv absolutely require at least small quantities of meat? I'm curious. (But I also haven't caught up on this thread, so I might well have missed something.)

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-11-27 06:16 am (UTC)
alexseanchai: Purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
*shrug* I find I don't tend to eat fresh fruit fast enough to justify buying much of it when there's just me.

*nod* :)

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-11-27 07:11 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Mmmmm, blood oranges. We're getting Satsumas out here, but I haven't seen actual Clementines yet... it should be warm in Cali this winter with El Nin~a in the house, so they should have a good late season.

Canadian bacon. It's a good compromise for Shiv, quite lean but still *some* fat content, unlike American bacon-fat....

And then there's Proper British Bacon, which is somewhere between that... visible fat around the edges but lean through the centre, and cooks up a little bubbly like American... g-d I miss a good bacon butty. Griddle the butty (bun) in a slather of butter while the bacon cooks next to it, pick up the bun (you haven't toasted the outside, just the inside, so you can do that if you're careful), drop the bacon into the butty, close, and serve. Preferably with a good cuppa tea... some yoghurt and fruit and maybe a little granola and you've got a proper English breakfast for on-the-go. (As opposed to the Full English, which is strictly a sit-down affair.)

I'm a fairly strong carnivore... if I go more than a couple days without fish, fowl, or four-foot I get cranky. I'll eat fruit if it's to hand but like OP often not enough to go through before it gets bad.

And that ending, you... <3 *sweet*.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-11-27 06:49 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I find that it helps to have fruit that *doesn't suck.*

So much fruit these days is bred for shelf storage, shipped around the world, bruised and battered, and then as like as not, highly processed or just left in a freezer-temp fridge...it sucks.

And fresh fruit, right off the tree, bush, or vine, usually does not suck. Another reason why, in good weather and with the time, I enjoy foraging. Right now, locally, the strawberry tree has just gone out of season, the hawthorn is in season (for sweet late fruit), and I'm waiting on the eleagnus to come into season.

I have a similar struggle with vegetables, though. I've figured out that I don't like COLD food whenever it's remotely chilly outside, and the unappealing nature of a snacking on carrots is related to the temperature of my fridge, whereas if I cook them very plainly and simply, I like them, because they aren't COLD; but then I have to cook. (I also leave fruit on the counter whenever possible.) But now I'm a bit stuck on 'cannot find enough time and energy to cook enough (and wash enough dishes)', sooo....I'm trying to up my intake of fruits and veggies, but it's difficult.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-11-27 07:05 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
Hm, yeah, that makes sense.

Yeah, hear that about the upping vegetable intake, too. Also the cooking and dishwashing.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-11-27 09:30 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I'm trying to go with the 'one major cook day' approach, but S and I are still figuring out some recent schedule and health changes that indirectly affect taking time to cook. Mostly, I want to have a clean kitchen before I launch a major cooking day because otherwise it's basically impossible for me with all the interrupts of locating, clearing off, and cleaning objects and surfaces I need to use, but as of recently, our weekends don't coincide so it's harder to launch a "while we have time, let's clean up and then COOK ALL THE THINGS" day. For all that, we've done some big cooking projects recently, and I just (mostly) finished a pretty good weekly clean-up of the kitchen; but I think we need to negotiate on how we could do a joint cooking day focused on meals for a week instead of one special meal or special guest offering. I can also try to cook myself some things I know I'll eat this week, and I think that might be my next activity after I have some tea and lunch-like substances.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-11-28 07:54 pm (UTC)
fyreharper: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fyreharper
Strawberry TREE?? What is this? o.o

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-11-30 02:06 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Hooray, I get to tell someone about a cool plant!

A strawberry tree is a member of a genus of trees, Arbutus, that bear (usually) red, round, edible (to my knowledge) fruit with lots of small seeds. The fruit, at its best, is of similar color, size, juiciness, and seediness to a strawberry, and looks somewhat similar due to its rough surface, but doesn't taste like it. I think it tastes like mango and mixed berries, when it is good (like paste if it is over- or under-ripe, though).

Here's a link or several:
Wiki (written). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbutus
Review of fruit (video). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXxTMupwbFY
Description (written). http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Strawberry_Tree_10303.php
Fruti and flowers (pic). http://www.naturamediterraneo.com/Public/data/polypo/2004121118546_Arbutus%20unedo.JPG

The trees are used for landscaping in Portland, as there are both native and popular non-native varieties, and nobody seems to know you can eat them, so I just grab a handful every time I walk past. YUM!

Re: Yay!

Date: 2016-12-01 03:32 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
:D

*bouncy bouncy bouncy*

Date: 2016-11-27 05:44 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
YAAAAY!!!!!!!!

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-27 06:08 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Positively giddy over Shiv catching the knife when it slipped.
Also, someone really needs to put kiwis on sale soon. I have apples and bananas, and that's it right now. Boo.
And mangos are weird. They taste like everything.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2016-11-27 06:49 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I only ever had mango once, but when I tried to compare the taste to pretty much anything else I couldn't. It kept reminding me of other things, so I decided to just say it tastes like everything. I think I also gave up trying to properly slice it and just gnawed at it instead.

Wyn (who forgot to sign the previous comment)

Re: Yes...

Date: 2016-11-27 07:21 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
We tend to keep our Japanese blades pretty darn sharp. And if push comes to shove, we break out the ceramics.

Interestingly, "shaving-sharp" isn't nearly as sharp as a blade can be. A seriously sharp blade *won't* shave, because the microscopic "teeth" on the blade are much smaller than the diameter of the hair... which is the point of the strop, to get the sharpness down to a level that the hair will fit in.

Gripping hand, if you do get it uber-sharp, for Seldon's sake don't cut without some sort of board underneath... smacking the blade into a granite countertop would probably make Shiv very impatient with you.

(One is reminded of Richard II's encounter with Saladin and his sword...)

Re: Yes...

Date: 2016-11-27 08:27 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
>> (One is reminded of Richard II's encounter with Saladin and his sword...) <<

Heh.


I knew I didn't have to explain that one! <3

I use the thick plastic ones for meat, and the wood ones ([personal profile] mdlbear has rather a lot of them) for the veg... you can better get away with glass if you're doing something like already-trimmed chicken breast where you can just draw the knife through and there's no threshold beyond which the knife suddenly goes "bang"... but anything with tendons/vessels/lots of fascia to go through, you need something you can saw against..

Jack Lewis (you have his book) made us a gorgeous board for our wedding; maple with an oak and walnut laminate on the ends. I haven't had the heart to use it as a cutting board, though it has served in other capacities...

Point me at the next one in the sequence, maybe that'll be part of December's batch....

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-27 01:44 pm (UTC)
gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
I actually have a limited diet when it comes to fruit. To start with, I'm mildly allergic to all rose fruits except drupes. (The protein that triggers it is at least denatured by cooking.) Most of the other fruit I like is either sweet enough to give me a head rush (citrus) or expensive (berries, pomegranate). Oddly, pineapple is not too sweet for me. Melons are good, but my favorite of those is cucumber. ;)

Raw kiwi and mango also make my mouth itch, haven't figured out that connection yet. I'm not allergic to other latex fruit.

I've tried dragonfruit and didn't like it. I'll try horned melon.
Edited (thinko ) Date: 2016-11-27 01:50 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-28 03:11 am (UTC)
librarygeek: cute cartoon fox with nose in book (Default)
From: [personal profile] librarygeek
Mangoes make my tongue go numb. Since a friend with hyperthyroidism NEEDS mangoes during a flare up, I'm thinking it may be related to my hypothyroidism levels. :-/

Bodies are weird, and I really wish I was born waving an operating and repair manual for mine. :-(

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-27 06:43 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Really glad this one got posted. It's probably my favorite of the lighter Shiv pieces; even though I enjoy the intensity of this storyline and character, I want to see him getting something ... sweet.

>> "Hey, doc,
about the argument that I overheard?"

"Yes?" Dr. Bloch said.

"We're square," Shiv said,
offering his hand. <<

Wow! <3 He has come a LONG way.

And you've made every step of it believable, with all the ups and downs. Happiness and good behavior need to be NOURISHED. *applause*

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-27 09:16 pm (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a lilac tree in bloom (Wisconsin spring: lilac season)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
*reads* *snurfles a bunch of raisins* *wishes she'd bought those clementine oranges, but there were too darn many in a bag for just one person, drat!*

I may need to make a grocery run at some point here, even though I've just recently done so. Purple grapes, pineapple, clementines, bananas or plantains--ooh. Shiv isn't wrong about lychees either; lychee nuts are delicious. As are sardines. Yum.

I suddenly want to go hiking and pick wild raspberries or blackberries, or both. Darn out of season fruit darn...

The diced cheese cubes idea has me imagining sticking sesame seeds into the sides of same, imitating die markings. *giggles* Wordplay and potentially delicious snacks are both go!

I'm glad I had those raisins (and a couple lavender flowers, ahem) to hand before I read this. The 'contents of your kitchen' warning is an apt one indeed, Ysabet! :)

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-27 09:39 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
>> "Uh ... okay," Shiv said. He was baffled, but
he had also learned that humoring Dr. Bloch
was a much better idea than annoying him.

Besides, it sounded like free food. <<

This piece of logic (and developing trust) made me smile. It's clear, simple, and (almost) entirely functionally based, and yet it shows Shiv taking a much more positive mental approach then he has previously. Which in turn shows that Dr. Bloch is SMART for choosing this approach to apologizing to Shiv ... free food is indeed an excellent way to show kindness and/or concern to many many people.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-27 09:40 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
PS: Also, 'egging us one' sounds like I made omelettes. Did you mean 'egging us on'? :D

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-28 01:24 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Grapefruit and I have a prickly relationship. I hated it for a long time. When I first moved here, Russ insisted that it was just because it'd never had the sweet red grapefruit before. So I tried a Rubysweet, and... it tasted like grapefruit, just less sour. BUT, oddly enough, grapefruit is one of my favorite flavors of unsweetened fizzy water, and I like most pink-grapefruit soft drinks. No, it doesn't make sense to me either.

I like dried papaya okay, but I don't think I've ever had it fresh. I like tropical-mix trail food, with dried pineapple and papaya and banana chips and flaked coconut. I've never tried lychees, but I probably should; I like water chestnuts, and these sound kind of similar.

I've eaten enough garbage to know
that some tastes better than it smells.


Gah, poor kid. Nobody should have to have that as a survival skill. Ditto the "can I eat this thing I don't like if it's the only option I have" one.

*sigh* We have 3 cats who were littermates, but we caught two of them when they were barely weaned and the third one not until 3 months later. They're 3 years old now, and the one we caught late is still the smallest cat in the house, no more than 2/3 the size of either of her littermates. This is fairly obviously the result of the difference in nutrition during their early life. Shiv would probably be much more sturdily built if he hadn't been half-starved most of the time growing up.

There's a particular flavor of kiwi/strawberry fruit drink that doesn't taste like either one to me; I always think of it as "this is what honeydew melons would taste like if they actually tasted good". I notice you didn't have any melons in the mix here -- is that just because Dr. Block was deliberately going for the exotic, or because they were out of season?

Passionfruit, to me, has a very slight but definite tang of cat pee. Not fresh, but more like if you're standing near a very old tomcat mark. No, I have no idea why.

I like turkey now better than I did when I was growing up, but it definitely makes me sleepy about 45 minutes after eating it. Fifteen minutes of nap is enough to get me past it, but that still means I only eat turkey on special occasions. Is Shiv likely to have the hot-milk reaction as well?

Has the Indiana usage of "mango" to mean "green bell pepper" faded out now that actual mangoes are more readily available? Just curious -- that really freaked me out the first time I encountered it!

"Some fruits just do that," indeed. I love ripe peaches from the farmer's market, but I always end up with peach juice all over my chin and hands, and on my shirt if I'm not careful. A really ripe plum with a tough skin can be just as bad -- you bite into it and the juice splurts everywhere.

Automatically his superpower
swept out, fondling all of
the sharp things that
he could go steal.


Could... but isn't going to, and not just because he'd get in trouble for it either. Is this his first vague awareness of the sense of power that comes from self-control? This isn't the same thing as "I won't do that because I know it's wrong" -- Shiv isn't that far along yet. But "I could do that, but I choose not to for reasons of my own" is one of the early steps on that path.

A wave of homesickness swept over him,
sudden and fierce. He pushed it aside.


And that's new and different, that he'd think of any particular place as "home" enough to miss it. Bodes well for him getting back in with Boss White.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2016-12-06 03:28 am (UTC)
johnpalmer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] johnpalmer
Side note: Mango = green pepper in at least parts of Ohio, too. I was stunned when I saw this pizza place that was... well, normal. Good, normal. They had pepperoni that curled up into a cup of grease, as all proper pepperoni should. (Hey, you don't like it that way, that's fine - "proper" is, by its nature, subjective!) and one of their toppings was mango. And I just could not process that... until I finally ordered a pizza that included mango as a topping and asked what the heck was this green pepper doing here, and learned a language lesson.

I should have been prepared. First few days in Ohio, the shopkeeper asked if I wanted my pop in a sack, and my first thoughts were "my what in a what?" - not because I couldn't translate but because I hadn't been aware of the need until it was driven home.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-02 08:15 pm (UTC)
johnpalmer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] johnpalmer
Side observation (and irrelevant to the story): the "complete protein" person - the one who first observed that beans and rice make a complete protein - later realized that you don't need complete proteins in that way.

Why not? Well - the proportion of proteins in a bean might be, for 9 essential amino acids, 5, 6, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10. (I made up a simple ratio just because - it's far easier than trying to handle the huge number different values.)

The rice might be 10, 10, 8, 10, 10, 10, 5, 6, 7.

Add them together in the right proportion, your quantities are all adding up so that all are 15 or better, some are 20s, and that makes the protein essentially complete. But note: none of the essential amino acids are actually *missing*. They're just not as well represented.

Well, if you eat enough raw calories of foods that contain protein (and even greens have protein - not much, but some), he was morally certain that you'd get enough of each essential amino acid. He did note that if you got all of your calories from fruits, you might not get enough protein... but enough rice to sustain your calorie intake will have enough of the essential amino acids to handle your protein needs. (Let's ignore how quickly you'd sicken on a diet of pure rice :-) - only protein was being discussed there.)

Of course, the recommendation for protein is 10% of your calories - 50 grams for a 2000 calorie diet. Shiv could quite likely need meat because he needs 20-30% (or more).

The long and short of this is: The Martian was accurate, with good vitamin supplementation, potatoes would sustain him long enough to make it to the next Mars mission.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2016-12-06 03:35 am (UTC)
johnpalmer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] johnpalmer
re: being able to eat enough, you're right. I don't know if it's humanly possible to eat enough salad greens to get enough protein - I'd get sick of spinach after the 3rd or 4th bag full, even if it was mechanically possible to chew and swallow enough to get the protein I needed.

The main point he was making was that it's not as necessary to worry about getting "enough" high quality protein if you had enough to eat. You didn't necessarily need beans, or tofu (which is technically "beans"), or nuts, or animal protein. So, for example, it's likely scientifically incorrect to harass a vegan over how they get enough protein. If they eat a varied diet, they're probably fine.

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