Wednesday, December 29, 1999

Grass Jelly Drink Review (by Gus Mellobar)

Well hello there, gentle Boschville readers! Who am I? Oh, you know me. I'm a friend of your mommy's. Sure......she sent me to give you a ride home from school. You shouldn't be afraid of li'l ol' Gus, now. You may even know me from other fine local publications that you were either too good for and/or never took the time to read. What am I doing here, you ask? Good question, young Boy Scout. I am here to bring you sporadic installments of an appetizing cooking related column that I am durn near certain will soon become your favorite. What? You say that you already have a favorite Bosch feature? "Ask the Tuna Can Man?" "Komics by Khris?" "Neighborly Advice from Bonefish?".....Screw that trash!!!! "Cookin' Wit Gus" is the only game for you now! Ah, yes, but why should it be so and (more importantly) just what are my qualifications? If you must know, it just so happens that I am cookin' up a particularly savory batch of Coconut Ginger Rice (complete with a few of Gus's special, secret in-greed-a-mints) as I write this. So enough with the questions already, monkeyboy!

For our first trip into the wiley world of semi-edible foodstuffs, we will be examining a fine product from the ever mysterious Orient. My first choice for this review was to subject myself to the twin wonder and horror of Texaco sushi. That's right, at one time, Texaco featured sushi nestled in amongst the deli sammiches and the like. However, that dream seems to have died with the availablity of that particular product. As a result, I soldier on and submit the following report on Mong Lee Shang Grass Jelly Drink.

Dark was the day that I heard the legends spoken by Bonefish (in a hushed whisper) of the Grass Jelly Drink. It was said that neither he nor Admiral Kludge had actually tasted this perplexing "beverage", but they could confirm that it appeared quite vile. As with many things (such as the Slim Goodbody record), I was instantly repulsed, yet strangely attracted. I knew that the gauntlet had been thrown.

After a bum lead or two as to where to purchase the substance in question, I finally managed to score what appeared to be the only can in a small Korean market and perhaps the whole city. One look at the picture on the can and I knew that I had to drink it immediately. The container pictured a wine glass of sorts filled to the brim with very evil looking brown, gelatinous cubes and a straw sticking out for extra "drink me, I taste good" appeal. The can was well refrigerated. I projected that the warmer this stuff got, the harder it would be to choke down. As it turns out, I was right. True to pictorial billing, the can did indeed contain brown jelly cubes with honest-to-golly blades of grass sandwiched in them. The only reassuring thing here was the ingredients listed: water, grass, jelly, cane sugar, corn starch, and honey. That can't be so bad, can it?

As for the taste itself; I was pleasantly surprised. As I had already vowed to consume the entire 11 ounce can, I was certainly prepared to become violently ill at some point. Thankfully, I found the actual flavor to be much like the delightful Thai Iced Tea served at the Bankok House. The texture of the drink, however, was enough to induce gagging. Imagine swallowing jellied spiders. You can feel the hairy legs tickling your throat as their lumpish bodies slide down coated in a thick, mucous like goo. Yes, there was actual blades of grass here. This drink was exactly as advertised. As I said, were it not for the somewhat pleasant flavor, I surely would have puked several times over. As I had suspected, the brew did indeed become less and less palatable as it warmed up. The last swallow was about room temperature and that was certainly hectic enough for me. Heat this soup up to nice and warm and it is surely nasty business. Even as I write this now (hours later) I can feel bits of grass lodged in my throat. Aaaaaaah, the drink that sticks with you!

Gus notes that any references (veiled or otherwise) that the reader suspects are for or about them probably are. Gus is a retired rodeo clown and currently lives in the state of Denial.

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