Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Selfless Sleuthing

Kids, unfortunately, require regular attention, and blogs are the same. So it was very wrong of me not to blog for a month. I admit that. But I expect to be forgiven every peccadillo when I explain the selfless endeavor on which I have now embarked.

Ever since I married a New Mexican salsa addict, who loves salsa the way I, an Englishwoman, love a cup of tea, I have been searching for the perfect salsa. Papalote’s, a little Mexican restaurant on 24th and Valencia, is famous for its salsa, which has an incomparable rich, deep tomato flavor. One online review opined, “Their salsa is like crack.” I now plan to unlock the secret of Papalote’s addictive salsa. I don’t want to diminish the profits of the Escobedo family, the owners of Papalote, so I have no plans to manufacture the salsa for sale, or even publish its secret on the Internet. I simply wish to delight Jordan and my friends with this piquant condiment.

Of course, the Escobedos have ignored requests for the recipe, which means I have to figure it out on my own. Happily, with the advance of modern technology, reverse-engineering recipes need no longer be a matter of trial and error: DNA analysis will unveil a dish’s ingredients. But although I hunted high and low on the Internet, I could not find a US lab that would analyze my salsa. Europe, it turns out, is far ahead of the US in food DNA analysis. I won’t go into the reasons here, but it’s to do with GMOs, BSE and foie gras.

After a little research, I located a French company called Gextrack that specializes in food analysis. They will tell you if there are traces of pig in your pudding, or whether that fillet of cod is really scrod. They are also experts in exposing fraudulent foie gras (contaminated with pork or chicken). But can they figure out the riddle of my relish? A fellow named Monsieur Robert has been kind enough to take an interest in my mission. This morning I sent him a detailed email asking him if Gextrack can identify the DNA of, say, a jalapeno. If so, I will immediately overnight several pounds of the enigmatic salsa to France, where I imagine men in white lab coats will pore over it as if it were semen from a crime scene.

If Monsieur Robert and his colleagues do uncover the ingredients of the sphinx-like salsa, the implications are revolutionary. In the future, no recipe will remain mysterious for long. There will be no more secret sauces, closely guarded through generations, and Colonel Sanders must finally reveal his blend of eleven herbs and spices.

I eagerly await my answer from Monsieur Robert. Although of course, even if his team can identify the salsa ingredients, I still have to figure out how they were cooked. I may have to divorce Jordan and marry one of the brothers Escobedo.


Blogger Tommy Barrett said...

While your devotion to your husband's addiction is commendable, I must be candid: I hope you fail in your quest. Indeed, I dare say, it might be, by defition, a quest that can never be achieved. Can it really be possible that the magic of the Escobedo's salsa can be reduced a scientific analysis of its component parts? Your quest strikes me as the equivalent of trying to figure out why you love Jordan by listing all of his traits and characteristics? I suspect that the salsa, like your love for Jordan, is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I suspect, the "magic" of that salsa cannot be captured and seen under a microscope.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Bodhi Cole said...

But, maybe with a list of the ingredients, some trial and error, and a little magic and love of her own, Helena can replicate the salsa of Jordan's dreams.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Tommy Barrett said...

well, having had the chance to visit papalote this weekend, and experience the salsa firsthand, I only have two things to add: (1) ohmygod!!! that is f***ing good; and (2) Helena: please try to replicate this salsa, and no matter how many times it may take (i.e. think Thomas Edison and lightbulb), I will gladly volunteer my services as a taster... 'tis the least I can do...


12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a good recipe for Papalote's salsa:



3:08 PM  

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