Ethical Eating

I'm Eating What?! Breadfruit... in a Can

This can of breadfruit has been sitting on my desk for nearly a month, and I'm sure it was on a shelf for 20 times longer than that. I haven't exactly been avoiding it; after all, how bad could it be? It's got fruit right in the name, the pictures on the can make it look like a combination of a Granny Smith Apple and a pear, it's got a "Guaranteed A-1 Quality" seal on the front of the label, and a slew of people around the office have tried and enjoyed breadfruit in the past. Granted, each of the people who've tried it groaned once they learned I'd be eating it out of a can. Still, it's with little trepidation that I take the can opener to the top and begin prying open the breadfruit.

Before the can is completely opened, people begin noticing that the label

looks like it was printed on someone's home ink-jet and sloppily pasted

on. I begin to get a little worried as I stop opening the can and take

a closer look at the back of the can. The text is blurry but

comforting. "Quite possibly the best alternate for rice, pasta,

potatoes, or bread." Four foods that are awesome! With my confidence

back in place, I finish opening the can and pry back the top.

Oh crap. My thoughts of a delicious apple-pear combination vanish the

moment I see the chunks of breadfruit floating in water. It looks much

less like a fruit and more like large chunks of jaundiced flesh. Just

before I'm ready to slip out of the office for the night feigning a

migraine, I get a whiff of the contents of the can. It smells like a

pear. The emotional roller coaster is back on an uptick, and I decide to

plunge my fork into the can before anything else could come along to

dissuade me.

The breadfruit has the consistency of a baked potato as my fork cuts a

chunk from the top of the can. I raise it to my mouth and pop it in as

quickly as I can. The texture has a baked yam or hearts of palm quality

to it, but the taste is something completely different. It's actually

the lack of a distinguishing taste that horrifies me the most. I'd

spent weeks thinking this was a sugary fruit that I'd be putting into

my regular shopping rotation, but as it oozes across my tongue, I can

only wonder how to make it edible. Perhaps dousing it butter or salt

would do the trick. I swallow the breadfruit and wait for an awful

aftertaste that never comes. Instead, a mild sweetness washes over my

tongue for a few moments. Out of all the foods I've tasted for this

blog thus far (save the Pocky), this has the most pleasant aftertaste.

Don't take too much stock in that statement, though. It's kind of like

saying "That was the best car accident I've ever been in" or "I thought

I'd cut myself way deeper than that."

If you're looking to pick up some canned breadfruit, I'd suggest forgetting the idea altogether. If you insist, try your local Publix.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Brett Gillin