Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The other evening, my Lovely Bride and I enjoyed an informal dinner party with four of our closest friends. Being a more hectic Saturday than usual, LB asked if I wouldn’t mind putting away the groceries we had gotten and “make a nice salad”. She could then set off to a make-up dog-training class with Ike.
My initial response to putting away groceries was quite enthusiastic until LB clarified I was to “put away the groceries” in the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, not my stomach.
It was while assembling the sundry components for the salad my mind began to wander.
Does anyone else get seeming random, off-the-wall thoughts? No?? Hmmmm….that doesn’t sound too good.
Regardless, I had an illuminating moment while slicing mushrooms. Maybe not a epiphany, it was more of an “I wonder….” From this germinal thought sprang others, like, well… mushrooms in the Spring. Allow me to share some with you
Who was the first person to look upon a weird shaped, speckled thing growing in a field or under a tree and thought; “Gee that looks pretty tasty. I think I will give it a whirl!”
Did they choose wisely, to go on telling the tale? Or, did they choose unwisely, to henceforth be referred to in the past tense?
Assuming that Kroog left a good-looking widow, a nice split level cave, and a fine collection of hand-crafted clubs, who in the world was the second person to try one? Was it voluntary, or was it on a foolhardy dare, egged on by peer pressure?
“Haaa…Haaa…. Rooj is a Neanderthal! He is afraid to try one of Kroog’s Thingies of Doom! Haaa”
While pondering these possibilities my mind jumped to another culinary puzzler.
Who was the first person to eat a hot pepper? What in creation ever compelled them to try it? Was it the bright shiny skin? Could it have been the enticing, subtle curves? Although, enticing subtle curves have gotten more than one guy into trouble.
A better question is: who was the person, upon witnessing the first hot pepper being consumed, opted to try the second one?
Soon, I found myself pondering the origins of the drinking of coffee.
Sure, we have all heard the legend of a goat herder observing the effects of little red berries upon his charges. Shortly after consumption, the critters would cavort and gambol about the hillsides. Perhaps not having had a good old-fashioned gambol for some time, our anonymous hero picks a handful of berries and proceeded to munch.
Soon thereafter, while pre-occupied with tossing his pitas, the luckless fellow’s buddies asked him what he had eaten. While in mid retch, he gestures with a trembling hand toward the bushes decorated with red berries. Trying to speak, all he can emit was a gasping “Kaaa-feee!” before being overcome again. Since that time, the little red berries have been known as “coffee”.
Not to be undone by a bunch of berries, our hero takes out his wrath by tossing a copious number of the blasted, miserable things upon the family fire. He smiles inwardly while watching them take on a darkened patina.
His anger still burning, he then scrapes the little things from the coals. Placing them upon the stone hearth, he proceeds to smash and grind the crunchy remnants under a rock. Satisfied, he relaxes. Suddenly, he remembers his wife will soon be home! Oh No!! He sloshes hot water on the mess….hey! That smells pretty good!! Tentatively, he dips a finger in the steaming liquid. While jumping around due to having stuck his finger in hot water, he sticks the injured digit in his mouth.
And….a new taste sensation was born.
Before long, he is operating a little walk-through fresh kaaa-feee business. Doing a brisk morning trade, he also caters to the evening intellectual crowd discussing such heady topics as “is the earth really flat?” and “How much further can technology go?”
Soon, he sells out to a guy in a place called See-at-all, and retires to the sunny Adriatic coast.
On and on my feverish mind went.
Did you ever wonder why anyone would consider taking something that fell out of a bird’s backside, and eat it? Does that even make sense?
Take milk for example. What would compel anyone to grab hold of one of those dangling things under a cow, give a squeeze, and drink what comes out? Had they gotten into some special mushrooms?
Similar thoughts about onions, caviar, chocolate and other foods wandered through my mind.
Later that evening, while gathered around our friend’s table, convivial conversation flowing, I glanced at LB as she took a sip of iced tea.
I wonder….who was the first person to think about soaking a bunch of dried leaves in hot water???