October 9th, 2006


Crazy Russian Chocolate Report

I stopped by Minsk Market again while I was running errands today. Half of their Russian chocolates have translations on them and the other half don't -- well, probably not half. Maybe a quarter have translations. I picked up "orange souffle" -- that was good last time -- and left "apple souffle" behind. They were lacking the convenient blue barrels of chocolate with pictures of blueberries on the outside, so I couldn't buy those (or I would have bought a metric ton of those to share around, because they're so very good -- why are American candy-makers so useless at fruit chocolates?).

So I just bought one of each of a bunch of things, more or less at random. (These are bite-sized candies.) The one I already tried claimed to be "toffee-flavored cream," which was totally true if by "toffee-flavored cream" you mean "rum-flavored caramel." Still in the bag to try: there is one that looks sort of like a tiny fireworks cone in that kind of paper, blue and green and red! There is one with ballet dancers on it! There is a little cylinder with a knight's helm on it! There is a mermaid chocolate (I hope it's not mermaid-flavored, unless they taste like sea-salt caramels, which rock)! There is one with a polar bear on it -- "How could a polar bear be bad?" I asked timprov rhetorically, and then belatedly remembered who I was talking to and said, "Umm. Unless it's polar bear liver."* But that was one with the ingredients in printed English, so we could verify that it was free of polar bear liver. Unless they're making their waffles out of polar bear liver. We kind of hope not.

Oh, and there's one I can hardly wait to try. I know it will be good. It says, "PLUM IN CHOCOLATE," and it's the right size to be one of those little sour plums that really go in plum dumplings instead of the stuff we have here. PLUM IN CHOCOLATE. How can this be bad?

I'm telling you, folks, it really is the little things. Worries about friends and family members and career stuff and existential questions and all that? Never mind that now! I have chocolate with a mermaid printed on the wrapper, and I have absolutely no clue how it will taste! This is so cool.

*timprov's main diagnosis is a cerebrospinal fluid condition whose causes are entirely unknown except for the consumption of polar bear liver. If you didn't get it from that, they have no idea how you got it. The up side is that maybe now he can be an angakok (Greenlandic shaman) without the ritual initiation step where you actually have to eat the polar bear liver. So far his angakok powers have yet to manifest themselves, but we're not proud, or tired.

One more quick food note

Did you know that you can make a very sticky yellow paste on the blender blades with cream and canteloupe? True story.

Also, you know what my favorite thing is about being an adult? Well, yah, okay, but my favorite thing that I'm willing to write about in my lj? The kind of confidence that comes from experience. In this particular case, I could look at the recipe I was using for the orange-canteloupe soup, and I could squint at the line where it said, "4 to 5 large ripe canteloupes," and I could say, "No. I am on canteloupe number 2.5, and already the other flavors are getting lost. I will finish this to make it a round number of three canteloupes, and then I will quit, because I have the nose, and I know how I want this soup to taste, and you, lady who wrote the recipe, do not." Because if I'd wanted to puree canteloupe, I know how to do that -- but I wanted to taste the orange juice, the lemon juice, the wine, the cinnamon, the cream. In fact, I wanted canteloupe soup, not canteloupe puree. And because I've done this sort of thing before, if not this specific thing, I didn't have to get to the point where I was dissatisfied with the result. I could stop before then and be satisfied.

Apply at will to friendships, writing, other life lessons: sometimes you really do know what you want, and it doesn't have to be what other people want, and it's good to be able to spot those times. And sometimes to slurp their frothy orange goodness.