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Location: Los Angeles, California, U.S. Outlying Islands

I am a graduate student in American Literature...

Monday, January 24, 2005

Thoughts about Turmeric

I've been thinking about turmeric lately. This all started when I was driving across the country in the summertime, and as I was checking into a motel, I noticed the smell of delicious Indian food coming out from behind the clerk's office (the office was connected to her home). I asked what she had made, and she began to rhapsodize on the benefits of turmeric. She insisted that I eat some, and it was truly delicious. I had never eaten fresh turmeric root before, but quickly discovered that even touching it will turn your fingers completely orange. The motel clerk had very orange fingers. I had a lot of trouble getting the color off of mine (we had no silverware, and were eating the stuff with our "living utensils"). Anyway, it turns out that turmeric (the clerk told me) is very good for cleaning out your blood. She said almost everyone in India ate it a lot, kind of like a national sport or something! I was impressed, made a mental note to start eating more turmeric, and then kinda forgot about it. Then the other night, I was at my favorite local Indian take-out, India Sweets and Spices, and the clerk there started talking about turmeric, out of the blue, about how good it was for your blood, and how most people in India ate it, and how almost nobody in India had alzheimer's becuase of it. Was he insinuating something? He told me I could mix the ground spice into a glass of milk with honey (mmmm?). But it's true that I don't want to lose my mind. So I bought a big bag of the stuff. Have I eaten it? Not yet.

Here's what my food dictionary says about the stuff (The Food Lover's Companion, which is a great kitchen book to have around)...I'm going to summarize though.
This stuff has been used in cooking since 600 BC!
It's related to ginger, native to the "Orient" (look out, you orientalists).
In Biblical times (surely we are no longer in these, though some unmentionable assholes love to draw on the imagery for their evil pursuits), they made perfume out of it (read: "exotic fragrance"--go crazy, you orientalists).
Oh, but did you know this? Turmeric is a main ingredient in mustard and that's what they use to make American mustard so bright yellow (but what about those yellow mustard flowers I used to mash up and try to eat on my childhood walks through the wilds of the San Fernando Valley? I'm confused).

So, looking for a tasty, very orange, and cheap way to keep your blood clean and your memory intact?
Go Turmeric!

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