Thoughts About Turkish Delight

Sunday, February 22, 2015


"The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very centre and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious. … At first Edmund tried to remember that it is rude to speak with one's mouth full, but soon he forgot about this and thought only of trying to shovel down as much Turkish Delight as he could, and the more he ate the more he wanted to eat … .

At last the Turkish Delight was all finished and Edmund was looking very hard at the empty box and wishing that she would ask him whether he would like some more. Probably the Queen knew quite well what he was thinking; for she knew, though Edmund did not, that this was enchanted Turkish Delight and that anyone who had once tasted it would want more and more of it, and would even, if they were allowed, go on eating it till they killed themselves."

-The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

I devoured the Narnia books as a child as much as Edmund devoured this now legendary Middle Eastern candy. Growing up the only Turkish Delight I had ever encountered were those terrible stale squares that became oddly popular gifts in the nineties. Everyone loved to give them, but god forbid you receive. Crunchy exteriors with far too gummy interiors enrobing stale nuts and fruit in sugary prisons.

Still, I was always curious to try the real thing, and for a recent Lebanese-themed dinner party I figured that now was a fine time to try.

They're easy to make, but the result is somewhat dichotomous...

Fresh Turkish Delight is definitely an acquired taste. Somewhere between jell-o and marshmallow sit the wobbly, brightly colored candy. If the texture doesn't appeal than the rose water flavoring might not either. Recipes require heavy pours of the stuff. In addition, the only ingredients are cornstarch, sugar, gelatin, and water. Not exactly a miracle pill.

The result is an incredibly sweet, overtly perfumed candy with a rather odd chew. I found it lovely, but after two pieces I had had my fill for the year, which seemed to be the total judgment from the table. One piece is dandy. A second a dare. A third is unthinkable.

Still, Edmund eventually betrays his siblings upon hearing from the White Queen that, "there are whole rooms full of Turkish Delight" at her castle, so perhaps TD is just the sweetie for you.

Just remember that if you do get a taste for it, that Turkish Delight may become a rather nasty habit. Remember Edmund…

"He had eaten his share of the dinner, but he hadn't really enjoyed it because he was thinking all the time about Turkish Delight—and there's nothing that spoils the taste of good ordinary food half so much as the memory of bad magic food."

Apricots and Kumquats: Fighting the Nor Cal Winter

Saturday, February 14, 2015

-Royal Rosa apricot blossoms. This tree is only a few years old and it's going bonkers.-

Somehow we will survive this trial. I know you on the East Coast are going on your, what, tenth snow day is some places? Roads are shut down. You're trapped in your home with children (read: ankle-biting, stir-crazy goblins). You're doing things like salting the drive and snow-plowing, things I've only heard about in stories.

We on the West Coast are suffering as well. Have you heard about the record drought? The utter lack of water from the sky? It might mean nothing to you now, but when California is producing much of the meat and produce the rest of the nation consumes you'll feel it in your pocket book this spring and summer when the cost of fruits and vegetables skyrockets to two bucks per stick of celery.

-Too. Many. Kumquats.-

I'm trying my best to survive it. This Valentine's Day I braved into the 80 degree weather in shorts and a t-shirt. I plucked fifteen pounds of kumquats off the tree. Took an hour. Tree is laughing at me. Telling me to 'eff off. It groans in a mocking tone wighted with easily another hundred pounds of fruit.

Bernadette the Apricot Tree is in full freaking bloom. In February. The hell? At this point I almost have to hope there's no crazy rain storm like last year when spring hit us in February. All the stone fruit bloomed early and crazy March rains knocked off every last blossom and fruit. (It's why your cherries were so bloody pricy in 2014.)

It's a burden, but we Californians will survive.

Do not weep for us, rather, cheer us on.

Garrett out.

Check It Out!: Fruits & Vegetables at About.com

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Oof! Where have I been?!

My apologies, I have been taking over a new blogging job. I'm posting ten times a month over at my new Fruits and Vegetables Channel at About.com, and like all new jobs it takes time to find your footing. Sadly, Vanilla Garlic got a bit neglected, but now that I have my schedule sorted I can split my attention equally between both children.

Remember About.com? That site that you used a lot way back in the 90s when the internet first started and that you still get directed to time and again? They recently rebranded, reshuffled, and retinkered and now have a banging new food section of which I am a proud part of.

They've got me writing all about produce. You'll find posts on topics such as investigating interesting varieties, looking and health and nutrition, examining curious histories, uncovering fascinating lore and legends, conducting interviews and doing product reviews. For example…


There's an awesome recipe for a creamy, sweet-n-sour white bean and Meyer lemon dip!


And a recipe for a bombtastic lemon caramel sauce.


Think you know your beet varieties? Think again with Beets 101.


Curious on if poppy seeds can get you high or cause you to fail a blood test? I have the answers you crave!

There's also info on if sweet potato leaves can kill you, the legend of the great eel Te Tuna and how is death created the first coconut, the origin of the Italian mafia and how it's intertwined with the citrus industry to this day, and so much more!

I hope you'll swing by and become a regular reader. Now that I've found my pace, Vanilla Garlic will be back up and running full speed. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Garrett out.

Habits & Cinnamon Rolls

Saturday, January 24, 2015

 -A delicious lack of self-control.-

I had intended to keep things nice and light with the start of 2015. A life filled with contemplation and reflection. Perhaps yoga, too.

I've always been bemused by the phrase, "drop it like a bad habit." We don't. Or rarely ever. Bad habits are like wet over coats. Clumsy, thick, and drenched. We get tangled up in them and once they finally fall to the floor they have to be heaved about, the mess cleaned, and tossed away. We pray that perhaps they'll end the way we hope a marriage doesn't; with one quietly gathering their belongings, and slipping out in the middle of the night without saying saying goodbye.

So it is the same with good habits, like trying to convince your body that of course it can fit into a shoe four sizes to small. JUST WORK AT IT! It used to fit back in college!

So yes, 2015 was going to be filled with cardio, core fitness, and salad with friends I didn't see enough of.

And then came the champagne brunch and the eight trays of homemade cinnamon rolls I made.

The habit may have left in the middle of the night. Then it came back and egged the house.

Oh well…

At least 2015 looks like it'll taste good with friends, instead.

-Commitment to oneself never involves frosting, which is why so often it fails.-

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