June 30, 2004

(Let me just get the apology for the title out of the way up front)

Once upon a time, a much younger, less adventuresome and painfully shy ‘mouse (one you’d hardly recognize today) set off in a pea green boat (okay it was a silver 747) from his North American homeland to the semi-tropical island of Taiwan.  He was there to learn some Chinese, expand his horizons, and, at least in his more exciting young dreams, sow a few wild oats.

As for what happened in the grains foodgroups, well, this is a family blog, so you’re going to have to use your vivid imaginations.  This post is about fruit.  Strange fruit.  Fruit that to a horny 20-year-old in the peak of his prime shocked young senses with a radical epiphany:  Some fruit is BETTER THAN SEX!

You can shake your heads and say, “We know you ‘mouse and we know how much you like sex and there ain’t no way that’s true.” But I kid you not.

Taiwan is home to “cloud fruits” that are pear shaped and light and glow with a translucent whitish-pinkish-reddish blush that itself suggests the color of sex.  They are full of sweet water that bursts over your tongue and cools you with the slightest hint of apple and pepper on the hottest tropical days.  They’re great.  But at their very best they’re a 75 on a scale where good-average sex is 100.

Taiwan has longans.  They’re good fresh.  They’re really interesting dried.  Perhaps the closest analogy is a dried cranberry.  Except they’re sweet and nutty and rich.  A plump raisin that’s been to Fiji and packed in a ship of spices and sandlewood.  Exotic and Asian and like licking your lover’s salty skin but without the salt.  In just the right mood, they can score an 80.

Lychees.  Fresh from the tree, stored in the refrigerator just long enough to get icey cold.  Peeled and eaten whole.  A pure burst of refreshment.  The softly feminine yin to the longan’s yang.  Sweet.  Wet.  Pure.  Cold.  A 16-year-old Hawaiian nymphette and her buff lover playing under a waterfall in one of those advertisements that look too perfect.  85 points on a good day.

Milk, honey and papaya create a drink that gives you hope in a world filled with bad news.  Stopping in an air-conditioned streetside milk bar and looking out as college students walk by shiny and young and full of promise.  Papaya wraps that up and preserves it with its red flesh.  At the same time, it hints that it knows the wisdom of the ages.  Papaya must come from Egypt.  It smells of Cleopatra and the pharaohs.  But it never scores more than 88, even with honey and milk.

Then there is the slightly spicy, woody pleasure of the two different types of guava they have in Taiwan.  “Thai” style are big and crunchy and I grew to enjoy them.  I know people who swear by them, but I can’t say that even the best guava ever rated better than a golden delicious apple and that’s only a 50.  Kind of like when your lover nuzzles those soft, fine hairs on your neck just back below your right ear. 

But then there is the fruit that does it all.  Huge.  Red and gold.  Royal colors.  The skin warm from the sun.  Yielding yet firm, like a young breast, budding with potential.  Yes, I’m talking about the famous Thai mango.  After several weeks wondering if they were worth the outrageous price of $1.50 which was more than the cost of most of my student-budget meals, after feeling them up at the fruit stand and smelling their promise, I was ready to try.

I took my lover back to my room.  Luckily my roommate was out so we would have complete privacy and there would be no embarrassment and no sharing of our special moment.  I smell her deeply.  I look at her shape.  I rub her flesh against my cheek.  Closing my eyes, I feel the smoothness of her glowing orb.  As I open her up, her juices begin to flow.  I lick them from my fingers.  Again, my eyes close involuntarily.  This is going to be hot.  It’s going to be messy.  I spread a bathtowel on my desk and turn the fan up.  I take my shirt off.  I lock the door.

I bury my face in her moistness.  Juice runs down my chin.  I savor every bite.  Melting in my mouth.  Sunshine yellow made soft flesh.  Sweetness with a hint of acidity but no sourness.  No tartness.  Buttery perfection on my tongue.  I can’t stop.  Oral orgasm.  Repeated over and over.  The only way a man can understand that shuddering, wonderful potentiality of multiplicity.  120 on a scale of 100.  Eyes closed.  Senses focused. One with the universal truth.  Sated.

And then I took a cold shower and promised myself one the next day.  And the next.  And the next.  The summer passed way too quickly. 

Years later I made a quick business trip to Taiwan and discovered they were still as stunning as I remembered.  (Checking the calendar to be sure the statute of limitations has expired...) I even smuggled one back to the States to share the experience with my lover.  Risk of a $10,000 fine and jail time.  Worth it.  The things we do for love.  For mangoes.

I’d tell you about the Rainier cherries here in Washington which have just come into season but then I’d have to get excited all over again.  Let’s just say that on a good day in the right mood they’ll score a 97.  But I’m an adventuresome adult now.  Why keep fruit and sex separate?  Perhaps together there are yet-unreached heights of pleasure to be shared.

Posted by 'mouse at 09:26 PM in • (1) Comments • (0) Trackbacks
June 29, 2004

Jen has added a picture to her gallery entitled Christ of the Ozarks.  If you download the photo and enlarge it a bit, you can see that there is indeed a statue of Christ, arms outstretched, peeking over the hill in the center. 

Before bed last night, I Googled Christ of the Ozarks and found pictures with even more detail.  I think this statue is intended to resemble the one of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, but his angular features reminded me more of Gumby.  I believe this is why I’m having visions of Gumby in my dreams.  Do you think he has an important message for us all?  Is he the One, True Gumby?

Posted by Bakerina at 04:46 PM in • (0) Comments
June 28, 2004

I am the all time worst guest blogger in the entire history of the universe.

This is my first guest post.

Bakerina will be very, very disappointed in me.

I do have some good excuses.

Last week we received our entire average annual rainfall in two days.  Our septic tank was not amused.  I’ll leave it at that, except to say that living in an enormous city with city water and city sewers sounds absolutely lovely about now . . .

My dear friend, in real life as well as the blogosphere, had her second child.  Her first child is unamused, and may be spending several afternoons a week over here.

My five-year-old and I have spent entirely too much time catching toads, so he can kiss them and either hallucinate from the poison (discussion question:  Why is the Discovery Channel evil?) or turn them into princesses.  Shockingly, we may not have the right kind of toads.

The Husband has been teaching two children’s summer art classes, so The Boy and I have been driving around with his favorite old lady, who is 87.  Any trip to the hair dresser or doctor involves 43 additional stops, usually to an assortment of grocery stores, gourmet shops and farmers’ markets.

She has shared the Secret of the Universe with me:  chicken broth.

I am also radioactive.

I apologize.

Later today I will attempt to make it up, and prove that I am, after all, a worthy guest blogger.

Or at least not quite as bad as I’ve been.

Posted by Bakerina at 02:50 AM in • (1) Comments • (0) Trackbacks
June 26, 2004

In my travels, one of the more interesting foods I’ve come across is the Brazilian pão de queijo, which translates as cheesebread. (This should not be confused with the Mexican pan de queso, which translates the same way but actually refers to cheesecake.) Pães de queijo (plural form) are tasty cheese biscuits available in all fine Brazilian bakeries, especially those in the state of Minas Gerais, where the food was first developed.

What makes pão de queijo unique is its use of tapioca flour as a main ingredient. This is derived from manioc and is the same substance from which the little balls in tapioca pudding are made. When mixed with heated milk and allowed to sit, it becomes an amorphous gelatinous mass. Imagine combining this substance with grated cheese (along with a few other ingredients) and baking it. The gelatinousness of the tapioca flour combines with the gooiness of the cheese to form a consistency within the biscuits unlike anything in the northern hemisphere. This, combined with the fact that no wheat flour is used, makes for a very unique biscuit-eating experience indeed.

Pão de queijo has a very long history, so a multitude of different versions have emerged. You don’t really know what it is until you’ve eaten it in at least five different places. Of course, here in the US, that’s not really possible. If you’d like to make a batch for yourself, this is the recipe I recommend.

Tapioca flour can be found at most Asian foods markets. As for cheese, you’ll want something hard and with a strong flavor. Parmesan cheese works best, but, for the love of God, don’t used the pre-grated Kraft crap! Buy the real deal and grate it yourself. I know it’s super-expensive, but cost should be no object. You want a lot of cheese in the batter, so it’s far better to overdo it than not put enough in. Feel free to really squoosh it into the measuring cups. And ignore the part of the recipe that says you should make small balls. Big balls are always better. The outer part becomes a hard shell, and you want a nice big interior so there’s room for the gooey gelatinous goodness to form inside. Bigger balls mean more cooking time, so you may need a half hour or more to cook them. Also, as with chocolate chip cookies, they taste ten times better when eaten hot. (Just don’t burn yourself.)

Posted by Bakerina at 12:48 AM in • (1) Comments
June 25, 2004

bosomas i walked in the evening light, faint fuscia fingers of another beautiful southern sunset glowing on the western horizon, suddenly i was startled by something in the underbrush… could it be a wild animal, come to tear into my soft new york city flesh like that japanese hotdog eating champion who appeared on oprah, the way he tore into that over-sized nathan’s hotdog, a truly glorious hotdog, a full throbbing twelve inches of kosher all beef hunger-satisfaction, which unfortunately has distracted people from all the wonderful qualities of the common garden-variety egg, which is not in fact a vegetable, although it could be, i’m still researching that.  i’ve discovered mention of a purported ‘eggplant’—if in fact this plant does exist, i may be on the verge of pulling away the covers of a vast historical conspiracy which will make the grassy knoll look like just so much grass. imagine: for centuries, chicken farmers have perpetuated the lie that it is their birds who are producing our eggs… all the while surreptiously harvesting bushels of eggs from rows of eggplants hidden out back.  the motivation for this egregious crime as yet escapes me, but when i figure it all out, i will truly be famous.  no more of this let me be your free bakerina crap: all you readers will just be little people who might have known me before i hit the big time.

i put my hand to my bosom, which was heaving.  “unhand me!” i said.  he stood before me, stretched to his magnificent bulging full height.  his flowing blonde locks curled against his muscular bosom, like smoke from a little arkansas hideaway curling into the smoky mountain blue ridge, catskills, whatever, night.

afterwards, he entertained me with amateur hillybilly theatrics.  i’ll never forget what he said to me: bakerina, you are one classy egg researcher.  not, wait, he said, my bakerina, i did not realize how unprepared i was to meet you.  now i know why they say new york is the city that never sleeps.

we can make it there, i replied, suggestively slapping his stupendous schlong

could we? he blurted, like a kid with one of those babe ruth-sized bats full of candy.

we can make it anywhere, i continued.  new york, new york!

Posted by Bakerina at 09:12 PM in • (2) Comments • (0) Trackbacks
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