"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I am fascinated by nature and biology.  I'm also fascinated by trying new foods.  As a kid, I had a pretty strong opinion about foods I didn't like, which weren't many, but once I tried it and didn't like it, you wouldn't get me to go there again.

That could be a real problem as I had two parents who grew up in the impoverished mountains of West Virginia and had lived through the Great Depression.  I NEVER heard the words, "What would you like for dinner?"  Food was prepared.  If you didn't like what was on the table, that was fine, but you either ate it or you didn't, and if you didn't, you damn sure were not going to get to eat any dessert, on the rare occasions there was any.  I seem to recall that dessert was something you got once every couple of weeks, if that.  Desert was more often in the summer when fruit was more available.

The only foods that come to mind which I really don't like are okra and licorice.  Licorice actually makes me gag.  I can tolerate okra battered and fried and with lots of ketchup to hide it, if I have to eat it, but only if I'm being served it as a guest and don't want to hurt the feelings of my host(ess).

The first time I tried sashimi, I loved it.  Yellowfin tuna that one of our passengers caught when I was working as a deck hand on a sportfisher out of Oxnard, California.  I like most kinds of sushi, but of course I can't eat the shrimp or crab or eel.  But the salmon, tuna, and white fish are great.  And I drool over smelt roe.  If you've never had it, just put the idea of sturgeon caviar out of your mind.  No comparison.  It has a sweet, yet slightly salty flavor that is indescribable.  That brings up another thing I want to comment on.  The old cliché, "Tastes like chicken."   I think the phrase, "Tastes like chicken," is the catch all, sarcastic response to the question: "What's it taste like?" when there is no adequate answer.  The funny thing is, whatever the food in question happens to be, the fact that the question is being asked means that it's a food unfamiliar to the questioner, and if it's unfamiliar, it's probably not common.  I've eaten a lot of treife in the past, or unclean things that I won't eat now. I only ate them then because I didn't know any better.

Three varieties of citron or etrog in Hebrew
 I remember going frog gigging on the Okeechobee with my cousin Lloyd on his air boat. Maybe someone who smokes two packs a day thinks that frog legs taste like chicken, but I don't. They aren't bad, but they're not chicken. But no more amphibian for me.

 When I was 15, living at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, I killed a six foot diamondback while on a work crew raking up leaves.  We cooked it on a campfire that weekend.  Didn't taste at all like chicken.  I could eat one again if I were starving, but I'd prefer not to.  I actually paid money to eat alligator tail at a nice restaurant on the Courtney Campbell Causeway in Tampa.  It was only slightly better in flavor than the rattlesnake, but chunkier and tougher.  The calamari appetizer was far better that night.  I've even had turtle soup.  Let's just say that I don't feel any deprivation at the idea of never eating another reptile.When somebody asks me what they tasted like, I reply with a wry smile, "Tastes like chicken."  And when they see that I'm kidding and inquire further, all I can say is, "You just have to try it for yourself."  You know, domesticated swine has a very different flavor from wild boar.  Same species, (Please spare me any efforts at taxonomic subtleties) but very different flavor of meat because of diet.  Same reason grass fed and corn fed cattle taste so different.

Wait.  Isn't the title of this post citron?  Yep.  Some people might look at one and think, "lemon," since some of them can look exactly like a lemon.  They are related, both being citrus fruit.  I could tell you that a citron tastes like a lemon, and to a certain extent I would be right.  But if you passed up the opportunity to taste one, you'd be depriving yourself of a worthwhile experience.  Twyla's brother Larry brought us fruit for Thanksgiving, and it was obvious he'd been to a farmer's market and not just the local supermarket, because one of the things he brought us was this little gem:

Buddha's hand citron on our Shabbat table
Just looking at the Buddha's hand citron makes you think that it's just grown to be a curiosity or a table decoration.  Which it did for almost two weeks. But when the tips began to get dry, Twyla decided it was time to make some more cranberry relish.  Normally she makes it with orange rinds.  It is wonderful as a fruit topping for vanilla ice cream.  But this time she made it with the citron, and I have to say the flavor was unique.  It merely hints of lemon, but it has it's own flavor, and the subtle differences are beyond my ability to describe.

In suppose if I try really hard I can understand why they picked the name Buddha's hand.  Is it because Medusa's head was already taken, or because that doesn't sound as appetizing as Buddha's hand?  If Buddha's hand looked like that, he really needed to be healed.  Anyway, that's my food post for the day.

Thanks to those of you who commented to show that I have the settings correct now.


  1. You make me chuckle. ;D Have you seen one of my favorite movies - Ushpizin? It's a must - and features the citron, at least in part.

    God's peace!

  2. As a matter of fact, I did see that movie. I was even a bit pleased with myself that I could understand some of the Hebrew.

    The citron, or etrog is considered one of the four species from Torah that are supposed to be waved at the Feast of Sukkot. Since we can't get the exact species as defined by the orthodox, we use the best of what we have. I believe that's why Adonai didn't exactly specify what the four species were in Torah.


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