I was invited to a cook out on Wednesday- yesterday at a little ranch up the road.
I social distanced in the shade of actual trees with other humans, sheep, goats, horses, a mismatched pack of dogs, chickens, turkeys, peacocks… I really wasn’t expecting this kind of place just off the main road, but there it was.
A lively young woman told this story in rapid, giddy Spanish that struck me square in the Absurd.
The story was about this cup of coffee that just would not taste right.
The woman had made her coffee and was dressing it up with her usual amount of sugar. She drank some, but it tasted wrong; still bitter. So she added more sugar. Tried it again. The coffee was still not to her liking, so she kept trying to make it taste better. She only gave up when another family member came and explained the reason for the coffee’s bad taste. She had not been adding sugar after all! It had been powdered snake! She had drunk at least a third of her coffee with polvo de la vibora!
Now, why would this God fearing family have such an item in the house to begin with? I didn’t ask. I didn’t need to. Given that I was on a ranch in Mexico, I knew that the people here would probably retain some folk medicine traditions. (Powdered snake is an unproven cancer treatment.)
Having grown up in the Northeastern USA, I don’t think very many people in that region would even consider having snake powder in their kitchens; not labeled clearly enough to not be mistaken for sugar.
I laughed. The story would make a good bit in a comedy sketch.