Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pejibaye (palm fruit)

The pejibaye-berry fruit
Bathroom sponge or veggie-root?
How can this dry and fibrous thing
Become a soup so smooth and creamy
or fritters to accompany ceviche?
It may not make the sweetest jam
But pejibaye is not only food,
It's also fork and spoon make out of wood!

We first encountered this in the form of a delicious creamy soup, like cream of potato, but incredibly more delicious. Then this mystery food item appeared as a fritter accompanying fresh sea bass ceviche, tasting completely different, but still delectable! We started joking that this was the source of all things tasty in Costa Rica. When jam of an unidentifyable nature arrived at breakfast, it surely was pejibaye! It wasn't, but it's such a fun word to say that it didn't matter. When, ordering (again) for dinner the delicious creamy soup, someone else found (and ordered) pejibaye fries that too were divine, we were caught up in an insanely animated discussion on this miraculous, yet mysterious, food item. The chef brought out a pejibaye, actually 2 - a whole one, and another cooked plain and sliced, and served with mayonnaise (of all things! And not even "con limon" - which I will explain shortly). We tried it. It sucked our will to live. It sucked every last drop of moisture available in our bodies. It made the saltine cracker eating contest seem easy. We searched for an antidote! Moisture! We cried! We were perplexed... We discussed the merits of such an item in the event of a bathroom flooding incident, as it would clearly soak up everything effortlessly. Finally, we discovered that since pejibaye is palm fruit, the palm wood itself is frequently used to make various items. It has a really pretty grain, I bought salad utensils make from it. The whole pejibaye experience inspired me to write a really bad poem (headlining this post) on the plane on the way home.

(I'm really not sure WHERE I'm looking in this photo...)
Mayonnaise "con limon". This is the best kind of mayonnaise. It was at our table for lunch one day, and it made me ridiculously happy. Deleriously happy! Firstly, the package was filled to just the right consistency that squeezing it in my fingers made a most satisfying "blurrrrp" sound. Second, it tasted so much better than regular mayonnaise! It had zest! It had pizazz! It did not contain high-fructose corn syrup! I ate more than I needed to.

Finally, a random incident for all you Queen's folk. At La Paz falls, I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt to try and prevent more mosquito bites, it is yellow and says "Golden Gaels" on the front - a freebie for coaching rowing. As I got on the shuttle bus to return to the visitor center, a lady said, in a shocked and surprised voice "are you from Kingston, Canada???". Why yes, I replied! She said she went to Queen's and recognized the Golden Gaels, and figured there weren't too many of them - despite the fact that we were both in Costa Rica at the time. So she, currently living in Minnesota, happened to be at La Paz, Costa Rica, at the same time as me, currently living in California - having both come from Queen's at some point in our pasts. What a great and inconceivably small set of odds that is! I should get Pi to do the math for that.

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