Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Grass Jelly Soda [Drink]

I am an adventurous eater, and sometimes, that can backfire.

Every now and then, someone asks me about my least successful food experiences, and I only have one answer for them: grass jelly soda. Sometimes the name is so inexplicable that they're stuck, and don't bother to ask about it. Other times they're intrigued, and want to know more. But despite myself, I've been unable to give them an adequate explanation of my horror. It just seemed like too much. But at long last I've decided to, if not conquer my fear, at least put it into words.

During high school, my chemistry teacher, who despite acting as a professional taste-tester for Coca-cola for a several years (which I thought sounded cool), was mind numbingly, and perhaps competitively boring, managed to impart only one interesting piece of wisdom:

"If you want to eat really healthy, just eat brightly colored [natural] food."

I bring this up, because the color of grass jelly soda, and particularly the grass jelly, is almost utterly devoid of brightness. I think it's the darkest green a semi-opaque substance can be without turning black. It stands to reason that grass jelly soda is in no way healthy, but it goes beyond that. While the colors of other foods are inviting, the color of grass jelly soda is a warning. It's a color with glittering, malevolent intent, like the eyes of an attacking swamp monster.

For the taste, imagine blending a bunch of grass, bitter-glossy leaves, a child's handful of potting soil, with a hint of mint. Add to that the same cloying sweetness of the liquid amoxicillin doctors prescribe to children.

Finally, "grass" "jelly" "soda" contains no grass (it's made from some sort of mint-like leaf) and no soda (it was a syrupy liquid. To be fair, "Grass Jelly Drink," is far more common. My can had no English on it, and so the store where I bought it was responsible for that element of false advertising). As for the jelly, that's where words really fail. It's not so much jelly, as gelatinous-substance, and also, it's chunky.

Ultimately, truth in advertising wouldn't have mattered: I still would have bought it had it been called "Malevolent Chunky Gelatinous-substance in Leaf Syrup" (not that far-fetched if you've ever wander around a Super 88 market). Apparently there are many different kinds, and I feel like I should give another variety a try, but it's hard. Very hard. I'm just not sure I'm ready yet.

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