What makes a fruit difficult, and what can it teach us about life? A new book explores the idea.

Fruit can be an easy snack that packs a lot of nutritional punch into a natural gift box. But author Kate Lebo isn’t interested in facile fruit that offers itself to be readily consumed, as she demonstrates in The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (with Recipes). Some fruits guard their flesh with armor. Some fruits can harm if processed or consumed incorrectly. Though Lebo’s definition of “difficult” is subjective, she demystifies fruits ranging from durian to quince with simple recipes. In her deeper essays, produce serves as springboard, Lebo told Eater. “For me: the fruits themselves became metaphors that led me to examine the relationship between nurturing and poisoning, the relationship between food and medicine, the history of caregiving and my family, how to think about the ways we deal with each other when we’re in pain.” Much like in everyday life, sometimes you can’t forget the pits.

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