SINGAPORE – An article in an online magazine under famed American lifestyle guru and cookbook author Martha Stewart’s brand prompted taunts from netizens when it mistook durian for jackfruit.
The article, titled Here’s Exactly How To Use Jackfruit, published on Stewart’s eponymous site under a section named Strive, which purports to be about “the art and science of taking care”, mistakenly featured a picture of durians.
A line about jackfruit which appeared right before the picture of the durians said:”This tropical fruit, often grown in India and southeast Asia, has a texture that can be an excellent substitute for meat.”
While unripe jackfruit has become popular in recent years as a meat substitute because its fruit can be easily shredded, similar to pulled pork, durian’s texture is very different from meat and is not known to be used as a substitute.
Netizens spotted the error and descended upon the 77-year-old, who now has a lifestyle empire under her name. Reactions ranged from ridiculing Stewart to asking for more diverse writers on her team, to avoid such mistakes.
Freelance writer Erin Chew who uses the name ThisAsianWomanSays on Twitter tagged Stewart’s official Twitter and questioned how she could make the mistake and why no one on Stewart’s team bothered to do an image search of jackfruit.
She added: “Can these celebrity #white folks get our SE Asian fruits correct?”
Another Twitter user Veronica the MVP said: “Hey, @MarthaStewart, do you need to diversify your writing staff? It looks like it’s time.”
Twitter user Chris Galvin Nguyen educated Stewart and her team on the differences in the two fruits: “There are several kinds of each. Generally, both start green, ripen to brown and the fruit can vary from whitish to reddish, though commonly yellow. Durian is creamy, jackfruit firm to crunchy. Jackfruit can grow to 35kg, durian much smaller. Similar yet very different.”
Although jackfruit and durian are both large, green fruits, jackfruit has a rough texture and raised bumps on the outside while durian has a thorny, spiky shell. The fruits inside are vastly different both in looks and texture.
Durian is pale yellow, rich and creamy in texture while jackfruit is more rubbery and orangey yellow in colour. Durian is also significantly smaller than the average jackfruit, which is said to be one of the largest fruits in the world with some specimens going up to almost 50kg.
This is not the first time that foreigners have gotten into trouble over their ignorance of South-east Asian food. In April this year, Malaysians and locals alike got riled up over British chef Gregg Wallace criticising a Malaysia-born MasterChef UK contestant’s rendang as not “crispy”.
Wallace later clarified that he had meant that the rendang was not cooked.
Stewart has yet to reply to the controversy.