Friday, March 7, 2014

What's Pink And Has Whiskers?

Lap it up.

My sister gave me a cat in a can.

I was hoping, when I opened the can, that it would be

  • A live cat.
  • Not dead.
  • Etc.

But of course I knew better. Right on the label, under the Cat-In-A-Can logo, it says Inflatable Feline.

No live cat, even one small enough to fit into a can of that size, even one that small and which would hold its breath while traveling through the U.S. Mail system, would let itself be inflated, either before or after the can part or the getting-mailed part, let alone both. And I wouldn't put my lips to either end of such a cat to try inflating it.

Or any cat, really.

In other words, I was onto that game. I was clued. I was dialed in. I knew it was plastic. And thereby OK. (Clean, non-scratchy, low probability of hissy fits.) And gladly inflated it, and gained a new friend.

But it wasn't the same as Ernie.

At this point in my life I don't remember anything about Ernie except for two fairly important facts.

  • The cat's name was Ernie, and
  • Ernie was a real cat, and
  • Ernie was not made of plastic nor was she inflatable.

Sure, those were three facts, but when you're dealing with facts, more is always better. And the extra typing gave me a few seconds more to recall some of those fond memories of Ernie.

Wasted seconds, I guess, because I still don't remember who in the hell Ernie was, cat-wise, aside from the name. (I threw in the she part because it sounds better, though I don't remember requiring Ernie to stand for a close inspection, nor was I ever inspired to put my lips there and blow, either. You don't do that. I don't.)

So, ultimately, we are left with a residue of things we may say we understand. In this case, they are that real cats are real and not-real cats are inflatable, and as far as I am willing to take this research, I hereby declare that there is a difference, and real cats do their own inflating, after supper, if they do it at all.

The same goes for things that you do put in your mouth. Like horchata. I've had it in tea bags. It's good. It's OK. It's acceptable. It isn't all that bad. Well, if you get "horchata con miel". I like the "miel" part. That's honey. Or something honey-like.

I hear that it can also be a sugar-based syrup, which is fine by me, since horchata tastes good that way, regardless of how it actually got to that particular address.

The straight horchata I had in tea bags was not my favorite, but with honey-like sweetening, it's yummy. But still too much like honey and herbs in a can, waiting to be inflated by the correct amount of applied liveliness, in order to achieve OK-ness, not-all-that-bad-ness, a level of mediocre acceptability with hardly any bitter aftertaste.

And in the other corner, there is live horchata, fresh-brewed — it requires no blowing. It self-inflates and breathes on its own. It's good.

No, I haven't said what horchata is. Here are a few words on that subject from someone who does know:

The herbs and flowers that are part of this drink include some better known herbs such as chamomile, mint, lemon verbena, lemon grass, and lemon balm. Some of the flowers that are included in this tea are rose geranium, small roses, violets, begonias, carnations, fuschias and malva olorosa/malva blanca — which are flowers from the mallow family. The horchata herb mix also includes some lesser known and harder to find herbs which include cola de caballo or horse tail (also known as shave grass), llanten or plantain plant (not to be confused with plantain bananas), borraja or borge, linaza or flax, a red leafed herb called escancel, in English it is known as bloodleaf, this herb gives the drink its red pinkish color. Another plant used in this tea is called ataco or red amaranth, this one also contributes to the color of the drink. There are a few other plants that are used, however these seem only grow in Ecuador and, at least according to my mom, don't have known names in English, in Spanish they are called pimpinela, shullo, and cucharillo.

Mine was tall and cool and pink, like pink lemonade, but not lemonadey. Not like something liberated from a can, or brewed in a tea bag, or retrieved dry by the handful from a box under the sink in the back room before boiling.

And it did not require me to put my lips on it and do anything but suck. So that's what I tried.


I'll have to do it again.

More: Horchata lojana or herbal tea mix


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