As the days get shorter and the weather turns colder in Rome, I begin to feel a bit down and lethargic. Now for those of you diagnosing from home, you can rule out Seasonal Affective Disorder. My sadness is brought on by the constant thoughts that it will be 10 more months before I can have another prosciutto and fig sandwich on pizza bianca, stuffed mussels on the beach, or a burger at a BBQ. My mood is very much affected by the absence or abundance of food so fortunately, just when I start to sink into a depressive state from missing my summer favorites, autumn produce starts to peak.
Of all the amazing fall produce Rome has to offer, persimmon, called loti or kaki in Italian, give me the greatest euphoric effect. I prefer the soft skinned kako to the hard, vanilla flavored variety. As they are very tannic until they are overripe, I wait until the fruit’s skin almost pops from the weight of the mature fleshy pulp inside. I begin eating by using a spoon to slice off the very top, then carefully carve out the inner meat. The process does not end there, I then use my teeth to separate the little remaining pulp from the skin, making an awful mess. I should mention that it is unwise to eat kaki in public unless you want to give the impression that you are starving or a disastrously messy eater. By the time I get to the second phase of persimmon dissection, serotonin floods my synapses and I enter a state of pure bliss. Suddenly those 10 months don’t seem so difficult to handle.