Incredulous Qat Tapioca

Which qat?   This was the first question I was confronted with.     According to Wikipedia Qat can refer to a deity worshiped in  Oceana or Melanesia  or it can refer to a tropical evergreen,  the leaves of which are sometimes used as a stimulant.    It appears that the speedy plant is sometimes spelled khat.   Watching the news today,  about hurricane Sandy pounding the east coast,  I found myself thinking that perhaps Miss Sandy has been given a bit too much khat.

Watching Sandy was not anywhere near so incredulous to me,  as watching Katrina was a few years back.   I remember being just horrified and couldn’t look away from the images of New Orleans under water.   New York and New Jersey simply didn’t carry near so much emotional weight with me.   Also,  for all the ferociousness of this storm it did not appear to me to do anywhere near the degree of devastation we saw with Katrina.  More than half of Manhattan it seems still has the lights on and it is clearly only a question of time until New York City gets back to normal.    Seven years later,  New Orleans it seems is still trying to heal and probably will never be the city it was before the levees broke.

To be perfectly honest,  I’ve never really cared for tapioca.    Once when I lived in Boston,  I did attempt to make an Indian pudding,  which is what is shown in today’s illustration.    The pictured version actually uses a bit of tapioca in the recipe  (which is how it came up in my image search for today’s words) but the one I made was based on corn meal and molasses.     As I recall,  I didn’t much like it,  which was a bit of a bummer given all of the time and effort I put into making it.   Though honestly,  I can’t imagine that adding a few spoonfuls of tapioca would have made it any more palatable.   Perhaps it is one of those New England things.   Natives love it and outsiders can’t bear it.    My thanks today to my New England friend Bill at Bewitched In Salem  who suggested today’s words.


46 comments on “Incredulous Qat Tapioca

  1. Pingback: Incredulous Qat Tapioca « Laitom’s Blog

  2. When we were posted in Abu Dhabi, my husband had to make an official trip to Yemen. I was not at all keen on his going, particularly as the German cultural attache had been kidnapped from his hotel only the week before. However, the British stiff upper lip, ‘England expects every man to do his duty’ and all that won out. The other part of the trip I did not care for was that the second afternoon, having presumably run out of bright ideas to occupy him, his hosts had written ‘Chew Qat’ and blocked out the rest of the day. Such are the hazards of the diplomatic profession, lest any of you be tempted to try it.

    Having myself endured the hazards of eating tapioca, I am incredulous that anyone should actually do so for pleasure. I was unable to swallow ‘fish eyes’ as they were called at school, being made even more revolting by being served as a milk pudding. I often had to spend hours sitting at the school dining table on my own after lunch, refusing to eat it. School rules insisted that I should stay at table until I did (or, in practice, tea was served which finally, finally let me off the hook).

    If you say it is a New England thing, I suppose it is further proof, if further proof were needed, that the Pilgrim Fathers were sincerely desperate to get away from the old country.

    • Mmmm. I feel so badly for you, having been forced to wait for hours at the table after being unable to eat the inedible. I wonder if kids are still disciplined in that way. I don’t recall ever being punished or forced to eat any particular foods, though I was very strongly encouraged to try most everything and there are relatively few foods I will not eat.

    • A wonderful comment Laura. I am going to scan through the comments on Alan’s posts to read your comments. I’m glad you mentioned ‘fish eyes’ . It’s been a long time since I’ve heard that reference to tapioca pudding.

  3. Incredulous Tapioca – come what? There’s quite an art to getting the texture of tapioca just right – with many gluggy results along the way. Thanks for your yet again talent with words.

  4. Tapioca was spread around the worl by spanish and portuguese conquerors, equal or more cruel and violent than Sandy. So, it seems there is anything in common between both of them… Lol… Cheers, Daniel 🙂

  5. Qat’s a handy word for the scrabble pep’s! I remember in Africa always been served the head of the fish as the eyes as well as the brain where considered a specialty I found they had hard stony pieces in them!

    • Re-reading what I wrote, I realize it may be a bit insensitive to my friends in New Jersey who are still struggling with this storm. And when I think about it I have to acknowledge that no two storms are quite the same.

  6. I am a huge fan of tapioca pudding and I am more than willing to take your share, perhaps you would like to have my share of brussels sprouts?

    • I’m not a huge fan of Brussels sprouts. I will eat them– particularly if you cook them in bacon (everything is better with bacon). I do thank you most kindly but will pass on eating your Brussels sprouts. You are still most welcome to my tapioca 🙂

    • You can have my portion of Tapioca as well Vince. So true that everything is better with bacon Alan. Especially ’cause you can eat the bacon and throw the rest away. As a garment buyer I used to visit Vegas 1-2 times a year. I would fly my now wife out to Vegas from Long Beach. When hitting up buffets and restaurants, the requirements to get us to visit an establishment was Bacon (Lynn) and Soft Serve Ice Cream (me)

  7. According to my friend Alan Jobe, as incredulous it is to see the size of hurricane Sandy as compared to hrricane Irene from last year, it has nowhere near the destructive power of hurricane Katrina from 7 years ago. Why? because Sandy has no Qat! How’s that for a dose of mental tapioca?

  8. I think Indian pudding is wonderful in a ratio of 1 part pudding, 2 parts vanilla ice cream. The intense sweet spiciness of the pudding is so nice in combination with the creaminess of the ice cream. But – you don’t like tapioca? How can anyone *not* like a food with the consistency of fish eyes?

    • Lindy, it seems to me that tapioca is one of those love it or hate it things. Some folks think it’s great, others can’t stand it. And there really is no in between it seems.

  9. I have never been much of a tapioca eater but the idea of a tree and a deity named Qat is very intriguing, I like to think of the deity taking the form of the tree to watch over the forest and all that dwell under and above its canopy. That is a diet of joy that is very appealing.

    • Who amongst us could turn down a diet of joy? I often find deities of other cultures intriguing and try to be neutral and respectful in talking about them. I find myself remembering growing up in Metairie, Louisiana. We has a truly Huge oak tree in the backyard. And what I wouldn’t give to be in our solarium gazing out at all the leaves that tree would no doubt have deposited in the tiny back yard by this date. (assuming it is still around)

  10. I had not heard of the deity, but I have read several articles about the stimulant leaves. Qat seems to be an inexpensive, but troubling escape from a difficult existence in several less developed countries. We should be grateful that it has not become more widely dispersed in our own communities.

    I sort of like tapioca pudding, but I am offended by the bubble tea that seems popular now. I was out on a date, and she suggested that a bubble tea house might be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. That was first among the several incompatibilities that we quickly discovered. I am sometimes incredulous about how quickly incompatibilities can surface.

    • Mmmm. Now that you mention it I will eat a relatively smooth tapioca pudding, but honestly I don’t really like it. It is the bubble tea that I find truly beyond the pale.

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