Saturday, April 16, 2011

Of Opportunities Taken

For once I can earnestly say I have taken the road I would otherwise have left untrodden and infested with alligators or whatever typically befalls unbeaten baths.

Last weekend I was in Long Island. While there, I got to experience some kind of strange, Spanish-Asian grocery market by the unsavory name of "Giunta's Meat Farms." There is no farm. There is a great quantity of meat, though I must admit not much more than one might find in, say, Shoprite or A&P.

However, this place did have ridiculous foods I'd never heard of. I managed to snatch up some snow peas, which are almost the edamame I can never find back home, as well as a variety pack of these:

These are apparently Cocon brand "puddings," though I doubt they contain any dairy and are more in line with the Old World notion of what constitutes a pudding. You can see the variety pack includes Mango, Strawberry, Passion Fruit and Lychee nut flavors, as well as "Honey Melon" (honeydew) and I think pineapple.

Have you ever had flan? That's about what the consistency is. However this brand seems to be known for a "chunks of fruit at the bottom" product, but I have to be completely honest with you: I don't think there's any fruit anywhere in there.

Oh sure, there are things. Things that taste like fruits, but they are not pieces of fruit. I am not in any way sure they are even made from fruits. They might be simply fruitlike in tasture. Certainly not texture, but they are almost perfect cubes of a solid, milky-clear gelatin, perhaps similar to the "pudding" yolk that nurtures it. These vile, unnatural embryos of alpaca hooves and citric acid and food dyes number 2, 7 and 14 have the consistency of aged, tough Jell-O. The closest fruit analogue I can muster is a low-nutrition, high-sugar syrup fruit cup chunk of pineapple with some of the skin still attached. Except all the chunks are like that. Perfect uniform balls of congealed acid flavor and slipperiness. I'm surprised children don't choke to death on them regularly. (Or perhaps they do and that's why reputable American grocers do not cary Cocon.)

The internet says these things are "nata de coco," a gelatinized coconut milk product, sweetened and thrown into desserts. I can almost buy it.

But then again, halfway through the package I discovered they give you six individual tiny-tiny plastic spoons to eat your pudding with, so all is forgiven.

Tiny spoons!

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