Be sure to take this post with a grain of salt. I know I will.
What can I say about the Abyss Island Survivor journey as of Day 12? Variety is the spice of life and I’m damn short on variety.
Nothing but plain white rice, red beans, and fruit. Let me emphasize the word “plain.” That means no spices. No soy sauce. No pepper. Not even a single grain of salt. You ever eaten totally plain beans and rice before? The word bland can’t do justice experience. 1. Put the nutrient matter in mouth. 2. Masticate. 3. Swallow. 4. Repeat.
For fun I punched my daily diet into the computer. It said I was reaching 5 mg of my recommended daily allowance of 1,500 mg of sodium. Hells, yeah, I’m now a real Survivor!
Then came another one of those damned clever pieces of tree mail from my
Probst baby. Reward challenge #2 was eminent and it cryptically hinted at the tantalizing possibilities:
Now you see it
Now you don’t
Oh there it is
Oh no it’s not
Think real hard
Think real fast
It’s what you’ve been wanting
If you lose it’ll be most haunting
Unlike previous tree mails, this one I studied carefully for hints. I suspected some sort of memory challenge was afoot.
The phrase “what you’ve been wanting” was dizzying. What had I been bitching about the most? Spices. What that just a hint of sodium in the air?
I could sense the winds of change were heading my way.
In addition to communication regarding pending events, tree mail sometimes contains other goodies. So far it has brought little surprises like kiwi and tangerines. On this diet those make very delightful desserts and treats.
A few days ago came a big surprise. A tomato! Wow! Wonder of wonders. It wasn’t that big, perhaps the size of a handball, but it really thrilled me. Then came the worry. What to do with it? I had to make sure I handled it properly. I didn’t want to waste this little ball of excitement that had just came into my life.
Per my wife’s advice, I carefully sliced and diced it on a cutting board, being very careful to preserve every single bit. I added it to a batch of white rice. It made a huge difference. Was that just a hint of something other than white in there? And the flavor was enhanced, too. Really. I’ve been on this diet too damn long. Hey, look. Only 27 more days to go. I’m not even one-third done yet. At least I was able to stretch the tomato across several servings of rice. I thought about blowing it all on a single meal but that felt decadent. I have to be wise with the bonuses from the Survivor gods I told myself. And that means rationing.
Wednesday rolled around and I rolled into the challenge. The official Abyss Island buff was on my wrist and I was carrying my tribe flag. I couldn’t help but notice that challenge time had been moved more than an hour earlier than normal. Was that so I’d be able to have the potential reward in time for dinner? My mind was swimming.
Uh oh. Laid out on the bar was a grid of playing cards. Yep. A memory challenge. I started worrying about my lack of sodium and my body’s ability to transmit nerve impulses. Come on, nerves, let’s do this.
My wife presented the rules, said that she had completed this challenge herself twice during testing, and had even put a little extra time on the clock. I think she also mentioned something about wanting me to win. Hmm. That doesn’t sound very Probst-like, does it? I was allowed four minutes to make 12 matches. On the backs of the playing cards were the words, “Go Fish.” Double meaning hidden there?
With a television-worthy flourish, my wife did the big reveal on the prizes. First up, the fishing net I had failed to acquire during last week’s challenge. And then, the big reveal. A spice kit!
“Worth playing for?” she asked.
“Yeeeeeeeeee-haaaaaaaaaw!” I yelled, perhaps a bit too loudly.
“Survivor ready? Go!” she said as she held up her arm and dropped it.
Go, magic fingers, go! Long story short, I made it with time to spare. I did my happy dance (which consists slowly of a raised eyebrow), grabbed the fishing net and ran to the sink and tossed it in. “Fish on!”
“Not quite,” she smirked.
I took a few moments to survey my precious and hard-won booty. The spice kit included one quart of coffee, a single-serving French press, salt, pepper, 10 tea bags, soy sauce, fresh garlic, a bottle of Tapatio hot sauce, a small Tupperware of cooking oil, and two assorted spice packets (containing about 6 teaspoons each of miscellaneous spices).
That night I ate same-o same-o beans and rice with salt and pepper. It was pretty damn good! I could really taste that salt!
Ah, a wee taste of victory!
Since I’m posting this late, here’s what I had for dinner the next night. I decided to do something special and make “Abyss Island Pineapple Fried Rice.”
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 clove minces garlic
- 1/4 tsp minced onion
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 cups white rice, precooked, chilled
- 1/2 – 1 cup diced pineapple
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
Ever so carefully I cooked that up and had the best meal of the season so far. It was remarkably delicious. I even scraped the fond out of the bottom of the pan and used those crunchies for the sprinkles on top. Delicious!
Fond, from the French word for “bottom,” is the word for those little roasty bits left at the bottom of a pan where something has been cooked.
Tomorrow I have big plans for a cup of coffee. Stay tuned for the excitement. I might pass out.