A friend was telling me earlier this week about the current state of oil refining in Ghana and what that means to countries such as our own. The short story: Ghana has oil. The U.S. always needs more of it and knows how to refine it in an efficient way. While I am legitimately interested in hearing about the investment opportunities, I did what I often prefer to do: blew through Seriousburg, veered across four lanes and took the exit for Sillyville via the word association game interstate. Ghana. Ghana. Oh, sure, Ghana. “I did a report about Ghana circa sixth grade,” I volunteered. “Let me know if you have any questions.” What else do I know about Ghana? One of my favorite bits of trivia: That’s where magical Synsepalum dulcificum, a.k.a. the miracle fruit plant, originated and is currently cultivated.
See how this works? We went from economically important trade negotiations to flavor tripping in two text messages. Flavor tripping just means that this little red berry tricks your taste buds for about 45 minutes and makes anything sour taste sweet. Here’s a NYTimes.com video story about the phenomenon.
Forget the oil; I think we should focus on importing more miracle fruit from Ghana, I told him. If Americans would chew a miracle berry before each meal, we’d all crave lemon wedges and Brussels sprouts covered in sriracha instead of fries and chicken fingers, resulting in weight loss and improved health for the nation. Supporting this mass taste bud trickery plan are two Chicago restaurants, moto and iNG, that are creating menus made for flavor tripping.
Let’s not concern ourselves with trivial side effects like upset stomachs and tooth enamel erosion. If you want to throw a highly memorable birthday party, hand out the berries (readily available from MiracleFruitMan.com) and serve wedges of citrus fruit, goat cheese and strawberries, balsamic vinegar, Guinness and grapefruit vodka martinis. I promise you that this is a far more enjoyable way to spend money than filling up your tank at $4.79/gallon.
Regrettably blurry shot from a flavor tripping birthday party I threw. Lemon drop martinis don’t for good photography make.