Part of a series of articles about our Members, helping you to know more about the things that we do when we're not doing Rotary activities! Here, a Member talks about her hobby of fruit carving.
I think I must have started fruit decorating when I was about 10 or 11 when, under my mother's watchful eye, I would shape the edges of tomatoes with little zigzags in order to garnish salads and other dishes whenever we invited guests around. I admit I still do that - especially to brighten up a plate of kebabs or fish cakes.
I come from a culture where big parties are not at all unusual, big weddings too! It used to be quite traditional for family members to produce a fantastic-looking feast to be set before the bride and groom. One set piece would be a huge roast, often shaped into a duck or swan (yes, using mashed potatoes!), sitting in a bed of fragrant pilao rice, eggs and vegetables. My tomatoes were in much demand. I gradually added apples swans and fancy cucumber twists to my garnishing repertoire.
Years later I learned to 'carve' melons into peacock-like fruitbowls, creating the tail with a colourful (and healthy) fan of fruit skewers, each topped with a delicious piece of pineapple and strawberry. It'd be an enormous challenge to get into a car, dressed in wedding finery and high heels, carrying one of these creations.
But the carved melons werent just reserved for big events. Once, a colleague of mine was leaving so we had a small office party to wave her off. I didn't know what to get the "Pirates of the Caribbean"-loving colleague that would make her laugh. And then I thought - I'll carve her a ship and add some Johnny Depp cut-outs to the deck! Somehow I managed to get it onto the train and into the office in one piece - and she received it with raised eyebrows and squeals of delight. We still laugh about it from time to time!
Nowadays, for those with the skills (not me), fruit carving has become a wonderfully intricate art-form in itself. You can order beautifully carved fruits with flowers and personalised monograms and designs. But, my fruit peacocks still remain as popular as ever and really don't require that much skill or special equipment - just look up Youtube, Pinterest or any other such site and you'll find lots of videos to learn the basic skills. From there you can progress to a master. For those of you on Facebook, there are fruit carving clubs - perhaps you can join, share, learn and make new friends too. Just remember to be safe and supervise young ones!