Thursday, October 28, 2010

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Rock Hound

By Fred
A few years ago I put in a new stone patio in the back--fun, like doing a giant crossword puzzle, except that none of the pieces actually fit together so I often had to break them with a hammer. And at the end I was left with a collection of very small pieces that I put into a cute pile (in case, as I often explain to Cheryl, I need them some day).

These sedimentary stones come from the bottom of ancient sea beds. Over the years minerals and organic matter in the water drift down and settle and eventually become a nice, flat layer of rock. As you might expect, these stones vary greatly in color and composition. They also have some secret properties.

a photo of Berkeley with a plaintive look, seeing a rock just out of reachLately Berkeley has taken an interest in these little rocks. More than a casual interest. She carries them in her mouth, preferring them to any of her toys. She sucks on them and even chews them a bit (which sends chills up my spine). She knows we disapprove but doesn't care.

At first Cheryl and I thought this was just a phase, a really nutty phase. Berkeley comes in from outside, wagging her tail like crazy and acting, well, just suspicious and way too happy. She runs into another room, and now we know that she's trying to hide the rock from us.

Surely, we thought, it can't be pleasant to roll a hard rock around in your mouth. There must be something more.

So I washed one of the rocks and popped it in my mouth. At first nothing, and then I noticed it. A faint saltiness, maybe with overtones of almond. Not bad. Hmmm, I can barely tell one wine from another, but maybe I've found something here that my taste buds can truly appreciate...

a photo of six small rocks aligned from left to right on a kitchen counter

Shown above are six of the rocks that we've confiscated from Berkeley. Here's my review, from left to right:

- Sweet, with a hint of chocolate
- Fruity (pears and watermelons), a lingering aftertaste of sea salt
- Bright and tart. One of Berkeley's favorites (not mine)
- Didn't try. (Might be dried cat poop)
- Cardamom and tea, spices from India
- Fishy

Who knows, before long I may be selling these babies on eBay.

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