Saturday, April 14, 2007

Royal Taster

That's what my job should be; I love to try new things, and it usually pays off. I like to think I'd try anything, but Tai made me think twice in this post. I cringe at head things: brains, eyes, tongues. Come to think of it, tail things don't sound appetizing to me either. I'll eat anything but Heads 'n Tails. Actually, I'd try it all, if there's proof that people really do eat it, and you're not just tricking me into trying stewed monkey brains, only to laugh and laugh at me later.

It's not as adventurous as a brain, I'll admit, but I finally did pop open this can of Basil Seed Drink, that I picked up in the Indian grocer in Chicago a few weeks ago:

I love basil, yet couldn't imagine what this would taste like. Liquid basil? Does a basil seed taste like a basil leaf? Can you really squeeze juice out of a basil seed? I imagined it to be clean and refreshing, like that water with cucumber that Cafe Kopi serves up. And green, duh, I knew it would be green.

I opened the can, and took a whiff.

It smells like bananas! What a surprise.

And surprise, it's not green! The appearance was not at all what I expected. It was thick, and full of polliwogs:

Click to enlarge

Take a look at just how chunky this stuff really is:

Gloop, bloop, gloop, gloop.

I took a 'lil sip.

Not bad. It's very sweet. It does taste like bananas, but green bananas. Sort of like a banana with just a twinge of freshly mown grass clippings.

But it's....well, lumpy. Chunky. Slippery. Here's one basil seed on the counter, extracted from my glass:

And one on my fingertip:

Doh! They tricked me! Those aren't basil seeds, they're basil EYES! Little basil retinas, in a glass full of banana snot.

Suffice it to say I didn't finish the can. The juice was too sweet for me, and the texture much too weird: thick enough to get all in your teeth and seem chewable, too evasive to bite, and too lumpy to drink.

So, there's my Basil Eye Juice review.

What should I taste next?


A friend sent me this humorous review of the Basil Seed Drink, that includes a couple of other drinks that weren't nearly as appetizing as this one.

(I couldn't find this webmaster's address anywhere, so I hope it's ok that I linked to his site.)


  1. Hey! That's a fruit called Granadilla! We currently eat it in Ecuador and South America..yam!

  2. No, I was wrong..guess it's a cousin of granadilla...our dearest Basil, ha?

  3. So that's the drink that is made with basil seeds. It's supposed to be very refreshing, especially with milk. By the way, what are polliwogs?

  4. i grow Basil from seed every summer and they are the tiniest black seeds you could imagine. I dont know where that nasty encasement came from around the seed.

    Good for you for trying!

  5. What a fun test. Especially with that last little creepy Kermit eye looking out from your fingertips. I think that seemed like a good start for adventures to come.

    I'll eat just about anything though. I'll try just about everything once. The grossest so far: Menudo.

  6. What should I taste next?


    That "toss away" line is just too easy to have some double-entendre fun with.

  7. LOL @ Paradise Driver

    I had thought of saying what that "thick, semi-clear" stuff pouring from the can reminded me of, but as you pointed out .. that too was too easy!


  8. Paula: Basil, yes. But I searched for Granadilla, found this picture, which brought back memories of my mother planting it in our central illinois back yard. It should not have thrived here, but it took over our yard, year after year.

  9. Herblover: Polliwog = tadpole.

    Steakbellie: I shudder to think how that basil seed got that tapioca-esque casing also.

    Mike: Oh, menudo; tripe, yes? It's one of the few foods I've encountered that I could barely choke down. It tastes like farm.

    Paradise Driver & Nancy: Minds in the gutter...ok, I'll try it anyway.

  10. Anonymous3:37 AM

    If you have ever saved tomato seeds you will have noticed that the seeds are surrounded by a viscous fluid. I read up on basil seeds and it is the seed that develops the viscous fluid I’m sure it aids the seed in germinating. As for strange foods I’m open to anything once, but I’ve never had the opportunity to eat any brains. I’m Mexican and Japanese so my food eating experience growing up was far beyond potatoes, corn, and roast beef. I was amazed growing up that other kids didn’t eat squid, octopus, dried fish, seaweed, miso soup, rice crackers, and white steamed rice (no salt, no sugar, no milk) just plain white steamed rice at least four times a week. Oh yeah, I love menudo!

  11. Anonymous8:54 AM

    If you don't mind organ meat, turkey fries are pretty tasty.

  12. Anonymous8:56 AM

    By the way, if the call a food something other than what it really is, I'd be a little squeamish.

  13. Hi Darlin. Long time no writey.
    What, you no love me no mo?
    Meanwhile, yeah, the drink thing?
    I am and have always been what is commonly referred to as "a fussy eater". That means, if I haven't eaten it before I won't eat it unless shamed or somehow otherwise physically forced into it. If I don't like (or even am unsure of)the way it looks, sounds, smells I won't so much as taste it. Go ahead. Call me a weenie. I don't care. This is tempered by the fact that periodically I have breakthroughs. Example: for many uncounted years I would not eat anything "spicy". Plain black table pepper would make me unwilling to eat a thing (if I knew it was in there). However a girlfriend shamed me into trying koong kaprow (spicy shrimp basil) at a thai restaurant and I suddenly acquired the taste for spicy hot! Now I can eat stuff so hot most people won't go near it.
    BUt I still am not going to try the bannana snot eyeballs no matter how much you call me a weenie. LOVE YOU!

  14. So frogspawn in a can, then? Who thought that would sell? No one, that's who - that's why it's masquerading as basil seed juice. A lesson learned the hard way, I think.

  15. Anonymous5:14 PM

    Boy this really cracked me up--
    That 'drink' is just ALL WRONG!!

    Made me laugh though.. a few years back my friend Maggie had us all try some leechie (?) or something veggie-like stuff out of a can at a Chinese New Year's party.
    Also ALL WRONG!!
    A few years later at another CNY party she handed me something I thought was the same stuff. When I adamantly refused to eat "that stringy shit" another friend looked on puzzled...we all started laughing because it's just NOT food. Maggie described it to our curious friend as "some weird food that turns to clothing in your mouth."
    She was right.

  16. AZ: Ooooo, I'm coming over to eat at your house! Yum!

    StFarmer: I looked up Turkey Fries. They're not fries at all. Can I eat 'em with ketchup?

    Anon: Turkey fries should freak you out, then.

    Andy: Plays guitar in nothing but his socks, but won't try exciting new foods. I'll never understand men. ;-)

    Sveny: There's a little pond across the street from my house. Well, a muckhole or something; frogs will be crossing the street to see me soon, and I can make my own basil juice with their little eyes.

    Zia: You won't believe this, but I have a can of lychee juice in my frig; that was Ilaiy's choice and he went back home and left the juice. I've eaten fresh lychees from Far East (local grocer) but I'm now scared to open that can. Maybe next girls night...

  17. That looks nasty. I can just imagine it sliding down my throat... *shudder*. Lychee juice on the other hand is lovely.

  18. Anonymous8:15 AM

    It looks like it belongs in the opening scenes of 'Look Who's Talking".

    Verrrrry interesting!

  19. You are one brave girl...eek...

    When you can pop by the blog...there's a surprise for ya!

  20. What a cute, amusing post!

    Basil eye juice - hiLARious! That is exactly what I thought it looked like. And the pic of it pouring into the glass - ewww! Like little celluloid thingies...

    Let's have fear factor night!

  21. In the name of fourth grade science class I once ate a worm pancake and a fried locust...but I draw the line at banana snot. :)

    I DO love trying new foods though...recently I ate fresh figs. Seems so simple but I'd never ate a fresh one before. Yum!

  22. You are braver than I am. I wouldn't go near the stuff. Not even if it did smell like bananas.

  23. Oh, and, you do realize that Royal Tasters had a disconcerting tendancy to end up poisoned? Just thought i'd point that out before you make that carreer change.

  24. And I thought BRAINS were bad enough!
    That's pretty gross, I have to say!

  25. Anonymous3:29 PM

    This drinks reminds me of a Mexican drink: Chia Fresca! (Yes, made with chia seeds!)

    But you might want to know that unlike chia fresca, this drink is flavored with amyl acetate (artificial banana flavor). It also has no relation to Granadilla, but is rather a member of the mint family.

    (I didn't like it either!)
    P.S. I have lots more info on chia eating on my website.

  26. Anonymous12:50 AM

    Brains are yummy, guiney pig too.


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