On kumquats and burning bridges
This post is going to be a little of this, a little of that… and speaking of little – have you ever eaten a kumquat? I hate to admit that at this stage of the game I had never tried one up until yesterday. I remember talking about them and having them described to me many, many years ago when I was in college by a fellow student, Amir (I think he was from Yemen). He plucked one from a tree (or was it a small bush) on campus and told me they were eaten in his country. Fast forward to yesterday when while strolling through Trader Joe’s, I picked up a little container of kumquats thinking it would be something different to have my little niece and nephew try. The kumquat looks like a miniature citrus fruit – adorably cute and enticing. The kidlees were drawn to them right away since they look like toy fruit (the kumquats, not the kids). They properly examined the fruit, assessing it was a mini-orange. My nephew asked if he should peel it first and I told him its eaten with the peel. My niece and nephew took one bite of the fruit, squenched their little faces as the sour taste hit their tongues and spit the fruit out immediately into my hand. Yes, on first bite they are sour, very sour and almost salty but once you get over that initial burst , the sweet rind mitigates the sour and makes this wonderful blend of tastes in your mouth, so much so that you find yourself reaching for another. At least I did. I had quite a few today. I’m glad I finally picked them up and tried them. You just never know do you what you like until you try stuff.
Sometimes it takes a long time to figure out what you like and sometimes you need to distance yourself from things that leave a bitter taste. “Burning bridges” is such an antiquated term. Here is some interesting information from answers.com:
- Crossing the Rubicon is a metaphor for deliberately proceeding past a point of no return. The phrase originates with Julius Caesar‘s invasion of Ancient Rome when, on January 10, 49 BC, he led his army across the Rubicon River in violation of law, hence making conflict inevitable. Therefore the term “the Rubicon” is used as a synonym to the “point of no return”.
- Alea iacta est (“The die is cast”), which is reportedly what Caesar said during the aforementioned crossing of the Rubicon.
- The equivalent expressions
- Burn one’s bridges. The expression is derived from the idea of burning down a bridge after crossing it during a military campaign, leaving no option but to win, and motivating those who otherwise might want to retreat. This expression can also be used figuratively, as in, “On my last day at my old job, I told my boss what I really think about the company. I guess I burned my bridges.”
- Burn one’s boats, a variation of burning one’s bridges. The Muslim commander Tariq bin Ziyad, upon setting foot on the Iberian Peninsula in 711, ordered his ships to be burnt, so that his men had no choice but to thrust forward and fight against their enemy.
- “Break the woks and sink the boats (破釜沉舟)“, an ancient Chinese saying referring to Xiang Yu‘s order at the Battle of Julu; by fording a river and destroying all means of re-crossing it, he committed his army to a struggle to the end with the Qin and eventually achieved victory.
- Fait accompli (“accomplished deed”, from the verb “faire”, to do), a term of French origin denoting an irreversible deed.
I’m more of the opinion that if the river should need to be forded again, a bridge can be rebuilt or a different manner of crossing the gorge can be found, it just takes a bit more time. But for now I can sit on my side eating kumquats. I am not the only builder of bridges – although sometimes it has felt that way.
Inscrutable enough of a post do you think? Here is a link to an interesting NPR piece on kumquats with some recipes at the end: Kumquat
And here is one of my favorite movie bridge scenes:
I may have to start doing a daily Monty Python video posting … let’s see if I can find a Monty Python kumquat reference… tah…