I didn't grow up eating figs. They weren't really common in Boston, and if you happened to come upon some, they weren't fresh.
Plus, they look kind of gross.
I get that all of this is purely subjective, since "gross" is not a scientific term nor did I ever actually taste one to confer this harsh judgment upon it. But hey, you eat with your eyes first, right?
Poor figs. They never did anything to me. I never had a bad experience, like that time I cut open a bell pepper and a caterpillar crawled out. That didn't stop me from eating bell peppers, though. No, the fig never bothered me. I just didn't like how it looked.
My Dad loved figs. One time we even sent him a dozen from Fresno to Boston, carefully packaged in an egg carton. He was ecstatic. I read somewhere that the fig may have been the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Not that that made it any more appealing to me.
Two things happened last week to change my unfounded distate and unfair rejection of this fruit. First, I went downtown to my favorite shop, Misc. Trading Co., to peruse Alvaro's hand-picked and beautifully-curated vintage treasures. While there, I met Tony Stamolis, a Fresno artist who had been exhibiting his latest collection of photographs in the shop. The subject of said exhibition? Figs. Armenians and Greeks have always gotten along famously, so it was like meeting a long-lost brother. As we chatted, he gifted me one of his photographs. What a sweet gesture!
Then, the very next night, we were at a friend's house for dinner. They put out a beautiful cheese and fruit platter for us to munch on while they finished preparing the meal. Lo and behold, among the variety of delicious cheeses, there were figs. I said, "You know, I've lived in Fresno for almost 15 years and have never had a fig." Their eyes grew wide. And so it began:
"Figs are delicious!"
"These are from my mom's backyard!"
"They're so sweet!"
"Why don't you try one?"
"Come on, Silva."
"JUST DO IT."
These friends used to live on the East Coast. They knew being nice wouldn't get them anywhere with me and my stubborn attitude. They knew I couldn't be coddled. They knew I couldn't be persuaded with logic. They knew their nudging could not be gentle. And due to their "encouragement" (they basically forced and peer pressured me into it), I tried one.
And then another.
Hey, whaddaya know? I like figs.
1. Rejection hurts.
2. Try something new.
3. Figs are good.
I'm sorry, figs.