Our son is home for the holidays. When he was little he was a picky eater, as are many little kids. He had his beige phase – noodles,cheese, cheerios. Carrots were never high on his list and salad, or for that matter, any leafy thing, was taboo (he could pick out one miniscule piece of lettuce from a Taco Bell taco even though it had been ordered without lettuce). But as he grew so did his palate and his bravery. His father, like his father before him, will try almost anything once and Nathan also has developed this crazy fearlessness. Well, crazy from my point of view. I have a whole list of things that Curt thinks are tasty bit which I won’t try, even once.
On this trip Nathan did not only bring home his laundry but a can of Chin Chin Grass Jelly Drink from Taiwan. He said it was an impulse buy he made while picking up some groceries at his local Megafoods. My impulse buys usually tend toward chocolate or deli salads not weird drinks but, like I said, I live with adventurous palates.
The ingredients listed were water, grass jelly (mesona procumbens hemsl), cane sugar, corn starch and honey. I forgot to mention this was ‘honey flavour’, implying there are other ‘flavours.’ And the can was in Christmas ‘colours’. Nathan said this was the only flavor on the shelf and later, we noticed it was way past its expiration date so it had been on the shelf for a while.
In his research my son discovered this was considered a dessert drink made from the boiled down stalks of a member of the mint family. We were having stir fry for dinner so he thought it might be a nice accompaniment. Poured into a glass it looked a bit different from the picture on the can, as Nathan put it, “Sort of a poo color.” Yum! The one thing missing in the glass from the picture was the chunky jello looking bits. Nathan found a few bits around the lip of the can which he tried to shake into the glass.
Now it was taste test time. Nathan said he really couldn’t identify a flavor. I said it was sort of a sarsaparilla with a hint of turpentine, and Curt said cough medicine. Nathan finished it but said he wouldn’t buy it again. For something with honey and sugar, it wasn’t very sweet. But where were those chunky bits featured on the can? Surprise! They were there all along, hiding on the bottom. So slippery they snuck right by when poured into the glass.
Once we saw the bottom of the glass we were kind of happy they weren’t floating around freely in the liquid. They had a shiny thick seaweed looking appearance and no one, yes not one of the fearless foodies said, “I’ll finish that!” But Grass Jelly is also listed as a digestive so I think it will work fine in my compost. Can’t wait to see what they bring home next.