Headed south – weather getting colder.
I wonder if that most delicious of all tropical fruits, the mangosteen (mengès in Malay), could not be grown in the U.S. (California or Florida) or even in Central America? If I know fruits, the mangosteen, with its thick, reddish shell, and serrated, white, center containing heaven’s own nectar, would be enormously popular in the U.S.
Another excellent fruit is the Rambuttan, somewhat similar to the mangosteen, but growing in a reddish case resembling a chestnut burr.
One fruit I was most disappointed in was the papaya – it’s taste is too flat and my rather sensitive nose was offended by its faintly putrid odor.
One of the few Dutch dishes I’ve ever cared for is “Bruin Buinen” (?) (brown beans). Properly made it should use a round, pea-like, brown bean, but ordinary kidney beans will do. They are first cooked (still retaining their firmness) then allowed to cool. When cold, a large portion of them is heaped into a soup plate and one mixes in with the desired portions of pork crackling or broken bits of well-cooked, thick-cut bacon, chopped onions, bits of pickles, etc. It makes an excellent “heavy dish” in hot weather.
Since Rijstaffel is essentially a curry dish, I do not care much for it — except for the rice itself.
Java had good beer – Heineken’s. In fact American Pabst Blue Ribbon (in cans) tasted like hell beside it. Brisbane, Australia, also had good beer. However, I still insist that the world’s best beer is Danish.
Used to have one hell of a time getting a decent breakfast until I caught onto a few words of Malay. (A Dutch breakfast is the most abominable in the world – raw bacon, raw sausage, cheesy butter on thick white bread with tenth-rate jam), and a witch’s own brew of coffee (Kapè).
I finally settled on bananas (pisang) and a fried egg sandwich with my own blend of Kapè — (95% hot milk, 5% coffee concentrate). Fried egg in Malay is “Mata Sapi” — literally, “eye of a cow.”
Thus, also Mata Hari – “eye of heaven,” or “sun.”
Balinese sword – straight blade used for war, hence modest bejeweling. (Crooked or wavy blade, purely decorative and use for court functions.) Sword approximately two hundred years old. Blade of excellent steel as evidenced by markings. Note heavy Oriental perfume on blade. Inlay work, gold. Flourish in steel near haft to represent elephant trunk. Handle decorations of gold with ruby inlays. Handle made of very rare wood from Java – the dark band in the light-colored wood is its characteristic – and it is purported to shield the bearer from sword thrusts and bullets. The scabbard is constructed of less fine pieces of the same wood. Duplicate sword in Bali national Museum.
Stephen (the Celanese who sold it to me because he needed the money for an air raid shelter) said that it was sold to him by an old Balinese, brother of a former high-ranking court personage, who after the ill-fated Balinese rebellion of 1905 attempted to commit suicide with this selfsame blade, only to have it shot from his hand by Dutch soldiers.