Before I set out to read Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, which I postponed for almost half the year, I prepared one of my favorite desserts, strawberries and cream. This is not strictly a dessert because I haven’t eaten anything decent when I ate this. And I am not too sure if this is what one may really call your regular strawberries and cream.
For the fun of it, I’ll lay down the steps on how I came up with this. I refuse to say cook because this is not cooking. It’s just slicing strawberries and opening cans and tetra packs and mixing stuff on a bowl. And oh, lest you misunderstand, I am not switching to food blogging.
01. Buy some strawberries. Look, those look sweet, but really, they are not. That’s why we are transforming them into something sweet.
02. Buy a can of condensed milk and a pack of all-purpose cream. The quantity depends on your capability to gorge all that sweetness in your gut.
03. Open the can with a something. Duh? In this case, I used a knife because I don’t have a can opener. And did I forget to mention that you also need to open the all-purpose cream? And do I need to mention that you will be mixing the two in a bowl? Not that bowl, that’s too small. That’s just me photoshooting.
04. Slice the strawberries. Or not. It’s up to you.
05. Slather the strawberries with the condensed milk and cream mixture.
06. And voilà! You now have Blood Meridian! I mean, strawberries and cream. Yahoo!
07. Warning: Book not included. Book not advised for consumption, unless you are a goat.
08. Really, I just dumped everything in a bowl. Actually, that’s not even a bowl. It’s an all-purpose water heater.
This is why I am not a food blogger. And after this experiment, I now have a lot of respect for food bloggers because it takes a lot of effort to take pictures and mentally draft the blog post while preparing the food. How are you supposed to take pictures of the food if your hands are wet? Or your fingers are bleeding?
Speaking of bleeding, I strongly advise you to finish the strawberries before reading Blood Meridian. Why? First, the book demands concentration. The strawberries are too distracting to get into the narrative. McCarthy is not inclined to signal the reader which character is talking in the dialogues. He doesn’t even have a name for the protagonist, who is called The Kid. Just that.
Second, you might mistake the strawberries for eyeballs or ears or raw human flesh. Yes, this novel is filled violence and gore. It might make the faint-hearted puke with disgust. And we are not even at the climax; that’s just the first reading, where we reached Chapter 7. Take a look at the chapter heading.
These headings are very helpful especially if you realize that you do not know where you are. It happened to me several times, particularly at Chapter 4, where the characters were traversing a no man’s land. Never mind the Spanish phrase. I don’t understand that per se. But look. There’s the word massacre. And “Glanton takes a scalp”. What’s a scalp? Uhm, that part of your head where your hair grows? Yes, that is meant literally. This novel, at large, is about The Kid trapped in the world of Indian scalping. I don’t know what they did with Indian scalps in 1850s, but I’m really glad that there isn’t much demand on scalps nowadays.
Freaked out? Engrossed? Take a look at this:
They followed the trampled ground left by the warparty and in the afternoon they came upon a mule that had failed and been lanced and left dead and then they came upon another. The way narrowed through roccks and by and by they came to a bush that was hung with dead babies.
They stopped side by side, reeling in the heat. These small victims, seven, eight of them, had holes punched in their underjaws and were hung so by their throats from the broken stobs of a mesquite to stare eyeless at the naked sky. Bald and pale and bloated, larval to some unreckonable being.
If you still want to enjoy strawberries and cream or any dessert for this matter, do not eat while reading Blood Meridian. McCarthy does not flinch in his storytelling, and he does not care if you wince a lot. And it is hard to look away, which is funny. But really, that is the mark of a good novel.
Date Started: January 22, 2012. 8:30 PM. Book #02 of 2012.