Anger Burger

Miracle Fruit: Still a Thing

Posted by on Jun 30, 2012 at 9:10 am

In the summer of 2009 I ordered a packet of dried, compressed miracle fruit tablets off the internet, which at the time seemed even riskier than ordering bulk caffeine.  But the alternative was to get fresh berries, which starts at around $50 for maybe a few dozen – the smallest amount offered – and typically shipped only overnight, frozen, for a small country’s gross national fortune.  Now, three years later, the frontier of buying miracle fruit is still weird.  The first website on Google’s list is sold out of every item except the compressed tablets, which they are selling at double the price.  The next website on the list has tried to change the name of the berries to Dulci Berries, which to me reads as Dulse Berries, which does not sound good, and their website is totally incomprehensible and repeatedly mentions having been seen on the Rachel Ray show.  By all accounts, a shifty source. From there it gets worse.

I bring this up because I was contacted last month by mberry, a maker of the tablet-style miracle fruit offering, and coincidentally the exact same brand I’d purchased three years ago.  I wondered if they had searched my website and seen that I had in fact, tried them before, and if so, why were they offering to me to try it again?  No matter, I’ll take it, and with the request I always send product offers: PLEASE SEND ENOUGH FOR THE WHOLE CLASS. I do not like reviewing products without being able to offer some as a giveaway, a request that went ignored by mberry.  They sent one packet.  So I called Krista and Jess and asked them to come over.

mberry is by all accounts the least crazy of the miracle berry offerings online, though even they are selling the individual fresh berries for $2 a fruit (okay, no biggie) but about $4 per fruit for shipping, minimum five fruits.  So in other words, five berries ends up costing you $32, $22 of which is shipping. I bring this up because my complaint about the tablets now is moreso than the last time I reviewed them: the effect of the tablets lasts maybe 10 minutes.  Or the half-life of it, at least.  Various descriptions claim the effect lasts upwards of two hours, and what they mean by this is that you may have some lingering effects for two hours.  But the window in which raw, fresh lemons taste like MAGICAL FAIRIE LEMONS is as I said, maybe 10 minutes.  Which frankly, is not long enough.  If you want to try a whole buffet table of things you must frantically eat, like a starving person, and linger over nothing.

I can’t find if it is okay to just keep eating the tablets, and continue eating limes and goat cheese, but I can’t imagine it could hurt you.  Still, we didn’t.  We sat back, mouths raw from acid and tummies complaining, and looked upon our mess.

So, I have none to share with you.  You can either order them directly from mberry, or from Amazon. Points of interest:

  • There is another brand called Frooties (on their own website they occasionally misspell their own product “Footies”) that sells both a standard tablet and an “XL” size.
  • Also, there is a Chinese-label tablet for sale, which if you can overlook the different graphic design, looks almost exactly like mberry.  So, probably the same manufacturer, but who cares since they cost the same.
  • Someone gave the tablets a single star and complained venomously that it made everything they ate “sickeningly sweet”. I imagine it is frustrating to really love sour foods and then accidentally eat a miracle berry tablet before your dinner of sliced lemons.
  • Almost each brand claims that it also makes bitter flavors sweet, but not a single person I know who has tried the tablets agrees with this. Bitter remains bitter.  Only sour becomes sweet.
  • MVP for most surprising flavor transformation: Sriracha. It is still spicy, but becomes complex and raisiny. While all of us were Sriracha fans to begin with, it was that flavor that made us saddest to leave behind – it was better after miracle fruit.
  • mberry’s package now says “NEW!” in the corner, which it did not three years ago.


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2 Posted in Food Rant

Still, Still Alive

Posted by on Jun 24, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Maybe it is because I grew up writing zines and then went on to live with a copywriter, but I have this massive, throbbing pet peeve wherein bloggers directly comment on their own lack of writing. I don’t think it is a feeling I hold alone; I believe it is widely considered to be the most amateur of amateur moves. So I will say this instead: at the end of this next work week, I will have the first available day wherein I am not working or dying from consumption. And I will say then, as I say now: I appreciate your concern. It’s nice. It makes me feel good. In the last eight months I have often asked you to patient, and you have been.

In summary:  I live, despite the effort of the universe.  High fives.

3 Posted in Drama!

I’m Still Alive

Posted by on Jun 7, 2012 at 9:22 am

I am technically still alive, though there was a moment there, when I was tearing my clothes off in the middle of the night due to a sudden and intense hot flash that I remembered the Miami naked face-eater and thought in terror, Oh no! I’m going to eat Mike’s face!

Later, the illness progressed into bronchial spasms, and I was at the end of my rope. I could not stop coughing. The coughing was so intense I’d just be gagging and coughing and gagging and coughing, tears streaming down my face. I have to tell you, I don’t think I’ve been sick like this ever. Late last year my mom had a brush with pneumonia and still has a nebulizer and albuterol, so I found myself with at-home treatment without having to leave the house. Without it, I would have been at the urgent care clinic and out several hundred dollars.

At some point someone asked “Why aren’t you taking Robitussin?”  Now, most over-the-counter cold remedies are bullshit. They are usually just combinations of drugs like Tylenol and a decongestant, which is great if you want to take meds and not think about it, but I have a specific combination of things I know work for me. I am a devoted believer of guaifenesin, which in the US is sold under the brand name Mucinex. Guaifenesin has almost no side-effects, and functions only to thin all mucosal secretions on the body. This means that coughing is easier, that nasal congestion is less thick, and if you’re into this sort of thing, vaginal secretions are thinner and theoretically can make impregnation easier. Let’s ignore that last part.  Anyway, most of these combination cold drugs have a small amount of guaifenesin in them, and I want to take a full dose, but that is impossible if I’ve already taken a partial that was bundled with a bunch of other meds. Does this make sense? Forgive me, it’s been a long week. Well, week and a half.  So yeah: a long week.

Anyway, Robitussin. Dextramethorphan, specifically. I don’t know why I wasn’t taking it, I suppose I assumed it was too side-effect-y or something and in my sick state ignored it. I remedied that, started taking some and behold! It totally knocked the bronchial spasms down by at least 50%, certainly enough to earn me a few solid hours of uninterrupted sleep, something I hadn’t had in days.  On Tuesday I felt well enough to return to work, and midway through the day started in on a minor coughing fit again.  I took a dose of Robitussin and felt better.

Until about three hours later, when I started to freak the fuck out.

So basically, I had an allergic reaction. These allergic reactions don’t have to happen the first time you take the drug, they can happen any time, and in my case, this was I think the 6th or 7th dose I’d taken over the about three days. The reaction presented as a sudden sensitivity, so I began to have all the symptoms of someone who had overdosed or taken 10x as much Robitussin as I had. And if you know anything about drug use, you know that people intentionally overdose Robitussin to get high. My eyes dilated, I had combination hotflash/chills that felt like effervescent bubbles up and down my body, my perception of everything became hyperaware and distant at the same time. I was panicking internally, but for some reason playing it totally cool, like nothing at all was wrong. My co-workers were unaware that I was having a medical event. Eventually I began to feel that my throat and cheeks were tight, and called my mom. I honestly wondered: should I call an ambulance? Was I about to go into anaphylactic shock? We decided I wasn’t, but I still had to ride this hilariously awful Robofry high to the end. The intensity of the reaction began to lessen after about 30 minutes, though the physical sensations became what I can only describe as “gross”. My teeth felt rubbery, my throat and mouth both numb and tight at the same time. Skin was desensitized and dusty-feeling. By the time I felt okay to go home¹ I was wiped.

So let that be a lesson to you. Don’t try to feel better.

¹ Mike was not in town and I didn’t want to go home to an empty house if I was going to need medical attention, so staying at work seemed preferable.

11 Posted in Drama!

Mike Named it Vader

Posted by on Jun 3, 2012 at 9:07 am

Two months after we moved in, I have an oven. I found it on Craigslist, paid the seller to drop it off for us and we installed it ourselves.  It was new-the-the box, purchased six months ago by a family that was gathering bits and pieces for an updated kitchen before the husband lost his job.  In a rare moment of prudence, I kept my mouth shut about the indignancies of my having missed the highlights of rhubarb season.

So why am I not burning through Washington’s butter reserves in a baking equivalent of a shark attack?  Well, let me tell you. I got a flu. Or maybe a cold. Or maybe both at once.  Suffice to say: I am pretty sure it is the Andromeda strain.

Even if I had a passing interest in food, I can’t taste. I can’t smell. I tried to eat a banana yesterday and it was like eating a stick of paste. I missed a lot of work last week, and slept even less than I worked. I will have bitchin’ abs by this time next week, because the incessant, full-body coughing certainly feels like I’ve been doing sit-ups for a hundred hours straight. Last night I resorted to internet urban legend because that is where I am at for ideas at this point (I thought it worked! But then I woke at 5am this morning with even more unsoothable, even rougher coughing than yesterday).  This hasn’t been an oh-I-was-sick-and-am-still-recovering-a-week-later.  This is I HAVE BEEN REALLY SICK FOR A WEEK.  Every day I get up and think, today is going to be the day I walk it off.  And then I get a short ways into some task like showering or drinking a cup of coffee, and I start to shake with exhaustion and cough violently and resort to a little lie-down that soon becomes a moaning plea to the universe to just let me die.

I made the Six Lonesome Muffins recipe the first morning we had the oven. I had to bake something, and had few ingredients in the house. The recipe calls for butter, but I don’t have a microwave to soften it and in desperation and exhaustion used 1/2 cup of canola oil instead.  I also realized that I didn’t have any baking powder, having intended to buy a fresh one when I moved.  I used an old-fashioned substitution trick of mixing two parts cream of tartar to one part baking soda instead of the powder, and while it seems to have worked, I still recommend using actual baking powder.  Instead of chocolate chips, I diced up some ancient, shrivelled strawberries from my fridge.  It’s not the triumphant pie I thought I was going to bake when we finally got an oven, but it’s still pretty triumphant considering that when my mom advised me to use 12-hour Afrin¹, I asked her “How often should I use it?”

¹My mom worked in otolaryngology for almost 20 years – treatment of conditions of the ears, nose and throat – and left with me a lingering terror of using Afrin. More than 3 days of Afrin use causes rebound congestion, wherein after the original cause for the swelling is gone the tissue will swell up as bad if not worse once the Afrin is stopped.  Continued Afrin use can lead to permanent swelling of the sinuses and permanent loss of the sense of smell. That being said, Afrin is the #1 most effective aid in stopping bloody noses and is handy to have in the emergency kit for that reason alone.  Also, if you haven’t been able to sleep in a week because of congestion, it’s amazing what one night of clear breathing and deep sleep can do for the psyche.  Unless you’re also coughing, in which case you’re fucked.

11 Posted in Drama!