Dr. Greger, have you ever eaten a durian fruit? They are so fascinating, though I’ve never seen a real one.
Kevin McCaffrey / Originally posted on the NutritionFacts.org Facebook page
Durians have to be the most badass of fruits. Imagine a 5 pound football covered in sharp spikes like some medieval mace. What other fruit can be described in the literature as causing “severe bodily injury” in articles with titles like Penetrating Ocular Injury by Durian Fruit? And we haven’t even gotten to the distinctive quality, the smell! With an odor perhaps best described as “pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock,” durian fruits are banned from many public spaces such as subways and airports in Southeast Asia where it is grown. I just had to get me some.
My big break came when I moved to Boston to attend medschool at Tufts, right smack in Chinatown. They were sold frozen. (I would soon realize why.) I hacked off a piece; it tasted like a caramelized onion popsicle. I left the rest in my locker—mistake!
I arrived the next day at school to find an entire floor of the medical center (including the dean’s office) cordoned off. They were going locker to locker, cutting off all the locks, searching in vain for the cause of a stench so overpowering you couldn’t even locate it. It was like a fog of stink. They seriously thought someone was stealing body parts from gross anatomy lab. And then it struck me. Uh oh. The durian had thawed. When I realized it was all my fault, I crawled to the dean and I’ll never forget what he said: “Why am I not surprised you had something to do with this.”
More on my medical school trials and tribulations in my book Heart Failure: Diary of a Third Year Medical Student.
Image Credit: smallislander / Flickr