A few months back a business-related acquaintance warnedme that he was to embark on a trip to Germany, and he asked me if he could buy something for me, when the time to return back to Venezuela was due.Visions of sugarplums and million ideas danced in my head, but I narrowed the list down to two small, teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy polka dot items: a small bag of Bahlsen’s Russich Brot, a very tasty sweet chocolate delicacy I can’t find nowhere else but in Germany, and a slab of Limburger cheese.
So, time went by and I nearly forgot all about it, until two days ago. My friend call me, somehow managing to relay his message through the defective jungle tam-tams that serve as phone system here in Venezuela, and he told me he was back and in a hurry to deploy into my hands the requested items. Deploy… that were his exact words, like in deploying a weapon of massive destruction.
He dropped by my home, somehow surviving the treacherous mud roads that lead here and he carefully placed in my hands a beaten-up Tupperware, wincing in disgust. He was rather thankful, though, because due to this small package he achieved to smuggle a lot of other things through Venezuelan customs by concealing the thing in his unwashed clothes. No custom officer dared to rummage through his bag because of it.
He eyed me suspiciously while I barely was able to stop licking my chops, and walked away as he shook his head in sad disbelief, surely wondering while I asked for something that would be better delivered to a tactical germ warfare lab.
Well, I have in freeze-storage a bunch of rye bread loafes, the only fitting kind for this tantalizing dish. There’s only a bakery in whole Venezuela who bakes it, so I like the ability to defrost it on need… and this was a suitable occasion.
That night, as sat to the table, I serve myself two slices of rye bread, artfully placed over a wooden plate. Its wood has been properly cured and the faint aroma of barbecues long gone-by permeates it. The bread slices are delicately slathered with butter, and I added to the lot a sliced tomato, lightly sprinkled with salt’n pepper, and a few dill cucumber spears on a side dish. I love to pickle cukes, so bear with me. I’m ready to feast.
I opened the Tupperware and basked in the smell that brings me memories of a time when I wasn’t forced to live in this junglish hellhole, of a long gone age when Venezuela still had a future. (in Count Zero, William Gibson quite managed to describe this condition that any place could suffer by improper handling: “It’s over. Done with. This place. No time here, no future.”) Tears were brimming my eye. Suddenly, a thudding sound brought me out of my reverie. The potted Ficus plant I cherish so much died because of the fumes.
I shrug and proceed to cut four thin slices of the confounded cheese and lovingly place them over the rye bread, carefully pressing them with the knife, so the slices are slightly slathered, like cheese spread. It’s already melting on its own, which means it’s ripe for consumption. Good thing that my friend didn’t trippers any radioactive stuff detectors in the airport. (sigh)
I dice the rye bread into tiny squares, and I proceed to place one in my mouth and I chew ecstatically. I feel like Scooby Doo in a Scooby Snak Rapture.
MMMMH… Limburger cheese (in my best Homer Simpson Impression). The first slice of rye bread covered with Limburger goes like this for a while.
However, I’m not satisfied… this heavenly pleasure must be stretched as best as possible, so I decided it can be done by splitting the next bread slice into as many small pieces as it’s conceivable. I dice it and the first bread dice is split into halves, then quarters, then eights. I’m quite determined to see into how many tiny parts I can split a bread dice before losing the powerful Limburger cheese taste.
Go figure: my dining room is in blasted shambles. I should have been warned by the Limburger cheese’s nature and stopped before disaster struck.
It was bound to happen; I cut the thing into so many small parts that I eventually did split an atom.
Did you enjoy this silly rambling? Go out there and buy yourselves a copy of my second novel, Eco Station One, and you’ll get 260 pages of stuff like this.