Fact: After clowns, shell art, and violated dolls with no clothes and unfortunately Cyndi Lauperine hair, mysterious bottles of twigs, berries and leaves rotting in translucent oil are the biggest shelf-wasters at your local Goodwill. Normally, one can laugh them off, “peppers from the ’90s floating in brown murk, how droll,” but once in a while, you find a treasure.
Remember: in retail parlance, a “gift” is something you would never ever buy for yourself.
If you have the expensive “Led Zepplin Extras” boxed set, cue up “Stairway to Indigestion” now. I’d start from the bottom and work my way up, but how do you define bottom? Maybe I’ll just start at the ones that actually make sense.
I don’t know what these are. I’m guessing peppers, because they were obviously meant to impart their delicate flavor to the gourmet experience this thing proposes. But they might easily be polyps, or the young of some strange sea creature. The top one is an impudent little thing, isn’t it? “Oh yeah, you WANT to splash me over your salad. But you’re not ready for that kind of zest.”
So sad. So alone. Are one pepper and two bay leafs, and possibly a juniper berry or allspice pod, really up to the task? No, probably not. Mostly these things are just used to make a kitchen look authentic and well-stocked, and if that was the case they could have gone the extra mile and added a second dessicated pepper. But no. That’s too much zest.
Then things get a little weird.
Do people particularly need a bottle of what appears to be strawberry shortcake-flavored canola oil? I mean, it’s pretty, kind of, the strawberry is dark and lustrous, but what’s the rest of that crap? A sprig of wheat? Corn, maybe barley?
In ancient Egypt, the bodies of the wealthy were preserved with grave goods to take with them to the afterlife. Maybe it’s like that. Maybe they thought the strawberry would get hungry. Here, strawberry, have some millet to tide you over until Osiris and Seth judge your soul as worthy. Safe journeys.
Please excuse the quality of this next image, I was laughing.
Yeah, it’s hard to make that out, but it’s corn. Corn! What flavor does corn soaked in oil impart to your food? Corn flavor? What would be the point? I mean, there’s not a lot of point to the bottles filled with carrots and peppers, I’ve yet to see any recipe call for carrot oil, but at least it looks like something. This looks like tired, wet corn. I guess you could upend the entire bottle into a kettle and have a very small serving of popcorn in one convenient go.
Hmm. I’ll have to check to see if Orville Redenbacher has a patent on single-serving stovetop popcorn yet. This may be marketable, in that sort of “80s single serving decadence” sense of the word.
Your label says thyme but your body says compost.
I checked under the bottle for a “Best when used by” label. I couldn’t find one. I assume this means “best when used by never.” I’ve always found the delicate paradox of something cosimultaneously labeled “gourmet flavor” and “not for consumption” delightful. But that’s a label you wouldn’t need for this bottle, which is is clearly not meant for any sort of use at all.
Lastly…old man butt and twigs.
Goodwill on Brodie in Southwest Austin