Okay. Forget everything you ever thought you knew about bad candy. Because this... this is the breaking point. This is where children weep and grown men cower. This is the proverbial "bottom of the barrel." Because it is my true belief that this is where it was gathered from. The bottom of a barrel. "What is it?" you may ask yourself. I'll tell you what it is. It's an insult. It's a slap in the face from Mexico. In selling you this candy, they have disrespected you and your family. This... is "Pulp of Tamarind."
Tamarind is described by it's makers as being the "Fleshy Part of Frut." I don't know exactly what "frut" is, and I can only hope that it isn't really covered in flesh, but I can assure you of one thing. "Frut" was never meant to be ingested, even when ground up in to a muddy, sticky, pulpy, highly viscous mass. But the muddy mystery doesn't end there. Oh, no. As Ben puts it, "If the black, sticky, pulpy compound is indeed the 'flesh of frut,' then the hard bits can only be the 'bone of frut.'" Mixed up inside this sludge of sleuthdom are rock hard chunks of unidentifiable origin, presumably the pits of "frut." Why these pits were not removed during the Tamarind manufacturing process defies logic, since they ARE NOT EDIBLE!
But I know that all YOU care about is how Ben and I suffered through our own Tamarind experiences. And suffer we did. The smell and highly unattractive appearance of the pulp had Ben threatening to vomit before we even started. It was a Sabroso experience all over again. Standing at the same sink, I squished a dollop of Tamarind to the top of the severed sack, and bit/licked an (un)healthy portion off. The sticky pulp's extreme sweetness caused my eyes to water and my lips to pucker up in disgust. Before I could even think about spitting the pulp out, it ensnared itself within my teeth and gums, thus assuring itself eventual deliverance into my digestive system, where, like a virus, it would no doubt take control of my mind. Meanwhile, I was busy trying to chew the hard chunks within the sludge, having mistaken them for something edible. Fortunately, my animal subconscience was more aware of the eminent danger than I was, and in an instinctual move of fight-or-flight, I somehow managed to spit the whole deal out into the sink, where it lay in a festering lump.
It took us a full minute to wash mess down the drain. With the faucet on full blast.
Where we found our Tamarind
Addendum to review (9/1/00) - Reader Amanda Hall wrote to let us know about the following inscription she saw at the National Maritime Museum in England: "In Asia, people believed that the tamarind tree poisoned the air around it and that people who fell asleep under the tree would be dragged off to hell by demons."
"Well, shit," says Amanda. "That explains a lot."
Addendum to review (9/6/00) - The news just keeps rolling in. Reader Christa points out that the FDA considers tamarind unfit for human consumption, siting the following reason:
Section: 402(a)(3), 801(a)(3); ADULTERATION
Charge: The article appears to consist in whole or in part
of a filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance or be otherwise
unfit for food.
Don't you people ever doubt us again.