Papaya Thief is a work in progress. It’s a collection of anecdotes and recipes, experiments in the kitchen, and an occasional outlet for onerous opinions.
In addition to being a papaya thief, Brendan Basham is the chef and co-owner of Tapas Bar at Casa Isleña in Rincón, PR. He graduated from The Evergreen State College where he studied literature, history, photography, film, music, and creative writing. Born in Alaska, Brendan claims Flagstaff, AZ, as his home. He was recently accepted into the MFA Creative Writing Program at Portland State University.
Why Papaya Thief?
I have a green papaya salad on my menu, and for the past few years I’ve been taking green papayas right off the trees. I’ve snuck into neighbors’ backyards, been bloodied by barbed wire fences, chased by wild dogs, yelled at by old blind men. The milk from a broken papaya stem burns like battery acid if it drips on you. When you wipe the sweat off your brow with the back of your juiced-drenched arm, or the sweat off your upper lip with your milky white stained shoulder, your face will itch and burn, and water will only make it worse.
But at 5pm, if you order the papaya salad, you know where it came from, you know that it’s fresh, and that makes me happy.