I'm familiar with the Caribbean: Tropical islands, year 'round sun and humidity, and unique cuisine. I am not at all familiar with the Caribean. Shopping around my local farmer's market, I find a clear plastic bag filled with four large, brown cakes labeled "Caribean Sizzles." As has become my unfortunate habit, I snatch up this strange-looking food and begin wondering what I'm about to ingest. If indeed this isn't a misspelling, I figure a caribean is some sort of exotic legume prone to psychic attacks. This makes me want to buy another package.
Ocho Rios, distributors of this particular treat, is the same company that packaged those strange tamarind ball candies I tried a few months back. Further examining the package, I find out these "Caribean Sizzles" also provide "Great Taste!, Quality! And Value!" Then, the largest font on the entire package finally strikes my eye: Ginger Bulla Cakes. These suddenly sound delicious, despite the fact I have no idea what a bulla is.
Wasting no time when I get home, secretly hoping my psyonic powers will activate the moment these caribeans take hold, I tear open the package and take out a cake. Or at least I try to. Pulling on one cake causes all four to spill out of the package and thud against the counter. I pry apart one of the dense cakes and raise it to my nose. It smells like a gingerbread cookie. I break the cake in half and take a bite from the center.
The cake is dense and extremely dry. So dry, in fact, that every last molecule of my saliva instantly swarms to the cake in an effort to somehow soften it. Biting down sends dry crumbs to the corners of my mouth, which are by this time almost chapped from lack of moisture. Aside from the cruelly dry texture, these bulla cakes are delicious. Like a two-inch-thick gingerbread cookie, it seems to scream to be dipped in milk. Unfortunately, there's no milk to be had, so I'm left dreaming and hoping the caribeans will let me conjure things out of thin air.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Once my mouth recovers from the drought, I take a look at the ingredients on the back. Nothing special there: Flour, water (yeah, right), brown sugar, and ginger. Then I notice the serving suggestions: "Enjoy with cheese, butter or avocado." Every one of those things would make this taste awful. I'm seriously considering writing Ocho Rios a one-word letter: Milk.
Who should eat these: Psychic hopefuls, people with drooling problems, dairy farmers.