Ethical Eating

I'm Eating What?!

It's been nearly a week since I put that bitter melon in my mouth, and I swear I can still taste the damn thing once in a while. Either that or my taste buds are still having nightmares from which I fear they'll never awake. Seeing that today I have another mysterious package on my desk from the same grocer which spawned that green cylinder or bitterness, I think about drinking boiling water first, if only to dull my taste buds.

The pale yellow block sitting on the desk looks more like a candle than food. Holes the size of dimes litter the outer layer surrounded by what looks like bread mold. The block is much heavier than it looks, weighting at least two pounds. A small label inside the plastic wrap reads Indian Kolhapuri Jaggery, and the nutrition facts only tell me that a 15 gram serving size yields 56 calories, 14 grams of carbs and 12 grams of sugar. At least it will be sweet.

As soon I open the wrapper, I get a strong scent of honey and sugar. The plastic knifes we're forced to use at the office do very little to cut into the rock hard exterior, but after a bit of sawing and hacking, a slice about the size of a pea falls off and reveals a soft, gummy interior.

As soon as I taste the Kolhapuri Jaggery, I know it's some kind of sugar cane. It melts upon contact with my tongue, sending waves of pre-diabetic shock throughout my jaw. There's a slight aftertaste which reminds me of a candy I used to eat as a child, but I can't put my finger on which one. Some people around the office suggest it's like Bit of Honey or Marzipan, which are both close, but not quite there. Either way, Kolhapuri Jaggery is immensely sweet, and probably not meant to be consumed all by itself, but rather as an ingredient to sweeten just about anything. I wonder what would happen if I spread it over that bitter melon? This Jaggery was purchased at Indian Grocery and Spices, 3062 N Andrews Ave., 954-561-8606 for about $3.50.

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Brett Gillin