There is a scene in The Jerk where Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters are eating at a “fancy French restaurant.” After they splurge on “fresh” wine (“This year! No more of this old stuff!”), Martin looks down in horror at his wife’s plate. “Don’t look down, don’t look down!” he says. “Look up! Just keep your eyes up and keep them that way, OK!” He then says to the waiter, “Waiter, there are snails on her plate! Now get them out of here before she sees them…Take those away and bring us those melted cheese sandwich appetizers you talked me out of.” I still crack up when I hear this.
While escargot may have been a shock to Martin’s character, sometimes stems and leaves can be scary as well. Every time around Chinese New Year, we get some questions about stems and leaves that have been left on certain citrus. (“You’d think the farmer could have had taken the time to at least remove the stems and leaves, for gosh sake!”) Stems and leaves left on mandarins at this time of year are a sign of good things. Bright orange citrus fruits are a sign of prosperity, and if the stems and leaves are still attached, it is an added sign of fertility—all in all, a good omen. Sometimes it’s easy to forget in our modern world that fruit still comes from a plant that is natural and not always uniform.
So Gung Hay Fat Choy (best wishes and congratulations)! It’s the Year of the Rabbit, so make a commitment to nibble great fruits and veggies like a bunny, and have a hoppy year!
Enjoy & Be Fruitful!
—Chris Mittelstaedt, email@example.com