I'm Eating What?! Mastic | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Ethical Eating

I'm Eating What?! Mastic

Isn't it fun when an ingredient list consists of only four items and two of those are unrecognizable? We can all figure out what sugar and glucose syrup are, but mastic oil and E220? (Turns out the former is tree resin and the latter is sulphur dioxide.)

Though the hexagonal jar with the cryptic contents cost a whopping $6.95 at the Middle Eastern market and I had no idea what mastic was at the time, I had to throw it in my cart confident that, at least, mastic had to taste better than that century egg I still regret trying last week. 

I won't tell you what I really thought the stuff inside looked like when I pulled the top away, but let's just say it resembled a bodily fluid quite familiar to those in the porn industry and at those banks where ladies go to get withdrawals but don't make deposits. You follow?

While this stuff appeared snow white and gummy with a slight transparency, its consistency reminded me of the wax that pros use to get rid of body hair. 

Before diving in, I supposed a cursory glance over the "Nutrition Facts" wouldn't hurt. Wrong! I was alarmed to discover that a serving size is about 30 grams (a dollop about the size of a 9-volt battery) and that each serving included a whopping 26 grams of total carbs (about the same as the count of an entire medium potato). 

But for the sake of science, in went the utensil and out came a trail of white gooeyness that required quite a bit of twirling. Eyes closed, I closed my lips around my fork and was pleasantly surprised to find that the mastic tasted like solid sugar. But there was a strange aftertaste that reminded me, not surprisingly, of tree sap.

The guy at the market told me that no one really eats this stuff as is but that it is a great filling for desserts, especially pastries. Hmmm. Who should eat this? Anyone whose tongue could use a serious workout and who's teeth are already rotted out.

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Riki Altman

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