I have latterly discovered the joys of fermented foods: sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir. And now, something new has appeared on my ‘if the bushmen of Africa can do it—why can’t I?’ radar screen: Sceletium tortuosum. Let me start at the beginning so that you may try this at home. I realize, parenthetically, that even though designations such as ‘under the bridge’ do not have a physical address or a shiny red mailbox (next to some plasticine effigy of a jockey having apparently lost his horse), they can still be, and I say this in all humility, construed as a home). The seeds are tiny, and can be purchased from any shaman (look in the yellow pages, or, as the director of Sun Haven Sanatorium used to would say to me, the urine soaked pages). The seeds, as tiny as your average star seen from a distance of five to six light-years, will take eight to fourteen days to germinate and require no special treatment, other than using an ingenious device, said to be invented by Leonardo Da Vinci–probably an apocryphal attribution–to keep rodents (the malefic ones) and itinerant neighbors in their ‘dark as Beelzebub’s cellar’ places of residence).
Now that the sowing (Ariadne, tangled in an ungainly mass of threads, interprets this as ‘sewing,’ as she has great difficulty with homophones, for which she spent several years at Sun Haven) is done, we wait. After about one year, we have the plant seen in the photograph (well, not exactly that one, but your own version of it). But what about the fermentation? Yes, I’m getting to that. But I must say that the next part is difficult because one gets attached to plants, particularly those with crystalline leaves and talismanic properties. And since the following is brutal, send the children to their dungeons—as one should always protect those under fifty from life’s barbaric truths.
The plant is deracinated, stomped on, and the pulpy mess is stuffed into a soda bottle, whereupon it is kept at a temperature that makes the dry sands of Dante’s inferno (Seventh Circle, Third Ring) seem cool and delightful. And with all the naked, near-dead bodies lying around (something so attractive about purulent flesh), aren’t you glad you sent the children away (without supper or prepaid wireless)? After a week, the fermented slop is dried in the sun. That was easy. Now it’s your turn. Hope your results are as good as mine. Don’t forget to return in a year to post a comment on your success or failure.