Ethical Eating

I'm Eating What?! Grass Jelly

There's no sugar-coating this one. I knew from the moment I saw it on my desk it was going to be bad. I feared eating this so much, in fact, that I "accidentally" forgot to bring a can opener into the office for three straight weeks. The boss stopped putting new items on my desk last week, leaving me no choice but to pry open the can and get it over with.

The can reads "Grass Jelly," and it has only three ingredients: Grass Jelly, Corn Starch, and water. How the name of the food -- and not grass -- is the primary ingredient in Grass Jelly is perplexing. There also seems to be almost no nutritional value at all, only 100 calories in the whole can, no sodium, fat, sugar (surprise, surprise), or carbs and only a minuscule amount of vitamins A and C with a hefty dose of iron.

Finally, I can avoid it no longer. I place the can opener on the lid and begin sawing away. As soon as the lid on the can pops off, the small crowd gathered around the desk lets out a groan like we've just seen a fatal car crash. The grass jelly is as black as midnight, like staring into the abyss conveniently packaged in a can. I take an apprehensive sniff toward the open container, and my nose is greeted with just a hint of black liquorish, another food that turns my stomach. Before we dig in, we decide to see what it looks like out of the can.

Imagine what Thanksgiving dinner would look like if Anton LeVay brought

the cranberry sauce. The Grass Jelly retains the exact shape of the can

and oozes a deep black liquid that could be mistaken for oil if it

weren't for the viscosity. Cutting into the cylinder, I'm surprised by

the intermittent resistance the spoon is met with along the way down.

There are little hard parts in the jelly, not whole chunks of grass,

just thicker sections in the jelly. I fill my spoon with the black goo

and raise it to my mouth.

It doesn't taste anything like grass. For weeks, I imagined chewing

fresh lawn clippings or shooting wheat grass, but this jelly tastes

more like unsweetened black liquorish than grass. The texture is like

Jell-O that wasn't properly mixed, and the liquorish taste lingers on

the taste buds for a minute or two.

Doing a little research after the fact, I found out this is normally

mixed with sugar cane juice, milk, or some kind of sugary liquid before

being consumed. Seems to me you're better off just leaving the Grass Jelly out of it altogether.

If you'd like to buy some for yourself, bring a couple of bucks to

Quoc Thach Deli & Grocery at 1364 N. State Rd. 7 in Margate. Call


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Brett Gillin