Adam's Salt Lick

- Or - Interview with a Bible Vampire. Reprinted by request from another one of my blogs.

“Did you know this water was sodium free?” Donna asked, brandishing the plastic bottle in front of my face.

“That’s lovely,” I replied, internally cringing. Donna the Evangelical “fundie”, otherwise known as The Bible Vampire, had cornered me.

“Most bottled water has sodium,” Donna continued. “God didn’t create water to have sodium in it.”

Oh boy. “He didn’t?”

Noooooo! Man puts it there.” She said this even as she crinkled up her nose, a toddler’s vowel sounds drawn out and quartered. I noticed that the makeup had caked into the new lines around her nose, giving her permanent whiskers.

No indeed. NOOOOOOOOO. Please God, anything but this. God, if you’re listening, please send angels to rip my ears off.

She smiles, having assumed that I am an eager pupil. “Uh huh. Haven’t you noticed how unhealthy sodium is? It’s in the news. God didn’t want us to have sodium. That’s why he created water for us to drink, and he wouldn’t put that stuff in there.”

“The ocean has salt in it. It’s salt water. Sodium is salt.”

She pauses and snorts. “Haha, you almost had me. Sodium isn’t salt. Salt comes from the earth. The bible talks about the salt of the earth. Not salt of the water.”

Hello God? It’s me again. Forget the angels. Send a plague.

“Salt is part of our diet,” I reply. "Too much or too little consumption of salt on a regular basis is found to lead to muscle cramps and fatigue. If not taken seriously, fatal irregularities such as neurological imbalances are also likely. Drinking too much of water, without sufficient salt intake, might lead to water intoxication termed as hyponatremia."

Foolish me, always wanting to volunteer information in the form of big words that Donna cannot process.

“No, you’re wrong,” she said, tossing her bushy and overly sprayed hair with a hearty shake of her head. (It isn’t fair to say that the individual hairs actually moved. The entire teased rat’s nest knocked about her cranium like a bleached-blond football helmet.)

“Actually,” I continue, “our ancestors received their salt through animal blood. Later, when agriculture was essential to survival, they would supplement their paltry dietary salt intake by consuming clay or other substances known to contain salt. Many animals do.”

“Humans are NOT ANIMALS.”

“Actually, we are. Primates, to be exact.”

“God created people, male and female he created them. People aren’t primates and they don’t eat rocks.”

“I didn’t say 'rocks'. The human body will die without salt. It’s an essential mineral. We require five to ten grams of salt per day. God must have created us that way, you'd think? Anyway, what did Adam and Eve do to supplement their salt intake? You told me last week that they didn't eat meat until after they had left the Garden. They didn’t have a way to, um, make table salt yet, obviously. Where did the salt come from?”

Very long pause.

Long indeed.

More nose crinkling.

She stares at me as if I were something spawned in the pits of hell. She purses her lips. She speaks.

“God gave them a salt lick.”


“I would imagine that it was in the form of the clay found in Africa,” I said.

“Oh jeepers no!”

“What? You don’t think it was a 'formed salt lick', do you?”

“It would have to be, wouldn’t it? God wouldn’t want us licking the ground. It isn’t good.”

So is this because the ground isn’t kosher, or is it because God would see it as a form of mud-man cannibalism? I was afraid to ask.

Sunday Scribblings #200: Milestones

“Nuuuuu-bee-bok!” she exclaims, pressing her tiny fingertip against the aquarium glass and doing a small foot-step dance as the Spanish Shawl, completely oblivious to the commotion, gracefully maneuvers itself closer to its favorite rock.

“Good morning Morgan,” I say and take a small sip of coffee.

“Nuuuuu-bee…” she starts again, in more earnest fervor than before.

I shake my head. “Try again Morgan.” She hasn’t been able to read the word yet. She can parrot “compsognathus” without batting an eye yet the humble word “nudibranchia” escapes her.


She looks at me and offers an apologetic, “Nuuuuu? Bee? Boka?”

I sigh and offer her a handful of dried fruit from my snack tin. "Look at the corner of the tank."

I love children. I love children even more when their parents leave them in my care. Specifically, I love ripping insipid things (such as Barney the Dinosaur and Elmo) out of their little heads and replacing those voids with knowledge. Morgan is one of those children that does not have as much atrophied grey matter as the average child her age, which happens to be five.

I look up from my coffee and notes to find her back at the aquarium. “New die branches?”


She points to a small sign taped to the corner of the tank and then pronounces the words again, her face screwed up in concentration. The result is only slightly different. She mimics one of my own sighs and declares “sea slug” in a somewhat dejected tone.

“No, don’t give up so easily,” I say. I pull my stool over to the tank and prop her on my lap. We watch the colorful aeolid for a while, making up silly stories about what he’s thinking or where he goes when the lab closes.

She points back to the sign and we read each syllable together. She repeats it, pointing her finger at the letter grouping as she pronounces the word: Nudibranchia. The Spanish Shawl ripples its way towards us and Morgan, filled with a wholesome child’s imagination, announces that the creature has come to thank her for reading his name correctly.

I smile and reward her with a kiss. We have reached a new reading milestone today.

This photograph is reminiscent of Bill Van Antwerp’s work.
It may possibly be his work. If that is the case, my pardon, Mr. Van Antwerp.)

Part II Shaken and Stirred

Previously, on Tofu Trek:

Lendie, my charming vegan chat companion and record-setting tofu gobbler, was comatose due to a lack of legitimate protein in her diet, and she departed consciousness prior to leaving me a recipe. The recipe was essential, given that I had a bowl filled with cubed, brined tofu in the refrigerator.

I really didn’t know what I was going to do with this stuff. It looked respectable enough in its nesting bowl. It even tasted edible. When in doubt, apply heat. I opted to fry a few cubes in a small amount of olive oil.

Experiment One:
My first observation was that the little white squares could quickly become little stuck-on brown blobs if left unattended. These initial bits were scraped from the pan (and eaten! Quite tasty!) Sadly, I could only fry a precious few at a time. Several cookbooks recommended deep frying.

Do we have any oil in this house other than Italian from the Strip or flavored? Yes. Somewhere. It’s Canola. Does oil go rancid? Probably. Luckily for us, this bottle was good.

Experiment Two:
Wheeler’s Laws of Tofudynamics - An object that was once part of a single mass will attempt to return to a single mass state when subjected to hot oil.

Seriously. I’d place the cubes into the hot oil and they would quickly gravitate towards each other like rabid bean curd particles from a bad science experiment.

“What did you make today?” I made a new element: Tofunium.

As I watched those little cubes morphing into a golden version of the T-1000 from Terminator 2 (say it with me now - Tofurminator), I was forcefully reminded of Mrs. M, in Colorado.

Mrs. M was born and raised in Heilongjiang Sheng (the Heilongjiang Province, in China) and a devout Buddhist. She was also my neighbor, briefly, and I (being a starving student) would visit her in the hopes of a free meal.

She was a quirky woman, stepping straight out of the pages of an Amy Tan book. She had a Chinese accent. She would count on her fingers, folding each one down towards the palm of her hand rather than sticking each digit up in the air as an American would. She was nosy and she had a lot of houseplants.

“Tofu cubes sticking. What do? I tell you. What would Asian Jesus do? He’d stir the pot.”

I have no idea why that came to mind, but it did, and so I stirred, fighting to keep the damn things from reforming. I found myself reflecting upon Mrs. M’s two Jesuses. (The Asian one was the right one, in her opinion. The Anglo one was an imposter who wanted to take away all of China’s languages and culture – as well as China’s money and riches. It really didn’t make much sense to me, considering that she was Buddhist, but it was her father’s Opinion and thus was it Valid.)

In the meantime, Better Half has been popping into the kitchen at regular intervals. “They don’t have taste”, he’d proclaim; only it would come out “Pfey don ha fphase” because his mouth was filled with tofu each time.

I finished up the frying (with much less food than I started with), turned the brine into a broth by adding plenty of chicken stock (instant miso soup), and tossed in some chopped green onions.

The experiment was over – the end result was a tofu meal that Better Half actually liked.


Shaken, Not Stirred

Tofu: tasteless bean milk pressed into blocks.

Have you ever tried to milk a soybean? It’s extremely difficult. Soybeans are rather teensy and have exceptionally minuscule teats for their body mass. They also tend to object to the whole milking process and, having no head, securing them for any length of time is often problematic. I had an entire herd of soybeans rampage in my kitchen just the other night, knocking over the salt cellar and causing the cat to skitter from the room. If you are patient, however, you can manage to milk enough soybeans to make a block of tofu.

It’s lovely when cooked in Japanese restaurants. My kitchen does not resemble such a place in any way and my last attempt at edible tofu yielded a solid round of disgust from the family and the discovery that the Hover Pig (our dog Ginger) loved the stuff.
If I could reincarnate Ginger, I would. She would be the failsafe. You see, lurking in our refrigerator at this very moment is a batch of cubed tofu suspended in sauce.

Lendie, my charming vegan chat companion and record-setting tofu gobbler, was absolutely brimming with handy ideas.

“Aut, did you press the brick?” she asked. She knows me by my screen name, 'Autrice'.

“Did I do what to it?”

“Press it. Auty, you’ve got to press it to get the water out.”
Why in the bloody hell would someone make a product that arrives packaged in liquid that you must spend an hour pressing out? Is it so difficult to make freeze-dried tofu? Pardon me a moment. I have to grab two plates and a New York City phone book and let the whole contraption sit for an hour.

“Aut, at least an hour. More is better.”
Why didn’t someone tell me this before I had all the other food prepped?

“And, I’d marinate it, since you’re not used to it.”

Used to it? Do I want to get used to it? I only bought it because Gorgeous Chick and her boyfriend, the Sex God, were standing in the Healthy Section discussing how lovely it would be to have tofu and sprouts with their Delightful Children.


“After you’ve covered it in a marinade, for God’s sake, gently shake the bowl like you’re panhandling for gold. Don’t stir it.”


“You’ll have mush.”
I think that it’s fairly obvious to even the most casual observer that tofu is in fact nothing but mush. In my case, it is $3 worth of extra firm mush.

I pressed it for an hour and ten minutes. I dried it off. I cut it into cubes. I covered it with Teriyaki sauce, chicken broth, onion powder and black pepper. I even went so far as to nibble a piece of it after only ten minutes in its bath (and I have to admit, it didn’t taste all that bad raw.)
I don’t know what to do with it at this point. Perhaps I’ll fry it.

Lendie, bereft of any genuine protein in her diet, passed out hours ago and forgot to send me a recipe. At least she had the opportunity to enjoy that cup of cleansing tea beforehand.

JoAnn Mininni

My cousin, JoAnn Mininni, passed away on Tuesday after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. She will be deeply missed.

The Need to Return

I have not blogged in a long time. I’m also fond of stating the obvious.

I considered myself to be an avid blogger. Posts began to taper off shortly after my aunt passed away (my posts thereafter consisted of observations made while in Colorado Springs) and I never truly got back into the rhythm. This is, in part, due to some family members who do not understand my bizarre sense of humor or the turn of a phrase.
It is high time that I resume my quirky (and often worthless) entries. A lot of memories were not recorded. It’s a pity, really.

Sepia Scenes: Haunting Tree

This beautiful tree haunted the winter landscape this morning. I thought it would be a perfect subject for Sepia. I did nothing to it other than add an orange cast (the snow and bark already looked like a B&W.)