Well, this will be a nice short post – a palate cleanser, as this dish was meant to be, between the heavy Eggs Benedict and the even heavier main course. This was the first food item to be completely missed, but it wasn’t a great loss since it hadn’t actually worked.
The name requires some explanation – in this episode, a bunch of space hippies commandeer the Enterprise and take it to some fabled paradise planet supposed to be the first Eden. By dint of the fact that one of them is an ambassador’s son, and so the use of violent counter-hijacking measures is out, they actually make it to this planet by the end of the episode. Anyway, one of them is named (unsurprisingly) Adam, and upon arriving at their admittedly beautiful planet they find out to their horror that everything living on it is terribly acidic and toxic to humans. The grass burns their feet, the fruit kills them. “Perhaps mankind was never meant to find Eden… perhaps it’s the search that matters.” And so forth. Not hard to see the message in this one. Also not hard to see it was poorly written.
This episode didn’t inspire me to poison my guests (though Earl was a little reticent to try it based on the name, being familiar with the source episode), but there is supposed to be a neat trick you can play with dry ice: supposedly, if you leave fruit in a container with dry ice, the carbon dioxide fills the container and works its way through the skin of the fruit, impregnating the juice with CO2 just as pop is impregnated with it. The end result is supposed to be carbonated fruit – bite into a grape or an orange slice, and it will fizz in your mouth. It would be a good place for a palate cleanser in the meal, having just had people work their way through Eggs Benedict, which we now know to be an egg and butter extravaganza. And then moving on to steak? Some fizzy fruit seemed called for, and I was going to have dry ice on hand for the drinks.
Try as I might, I never got it to work. It chills the fruit quite well, and so it’s still refreshing, but I never got any of them to fizz. I tried leaving it for hours; then tried cutting back to the recommended half-hour in case too much was self-defeating; I tried open topped containers and nearly sealed containers. I tried letting CO2 slowly leach out of the ice, and I tried forcing it by dropping it in water inside the container. Nothing.
However, it didn’t really matter that much because by this time in the party it was later than I’d hoped, and the steak course was a ways away yet, and I didn’t have time. So there’s still a bunch of fruit in my fridge. I think perhaps one could use the much-maligned siphon to force pressurized CO2 into fruit – I suspect the pressure would help things along – but I’ve not done it, so I can’t say. At any rate, now the guests who were present will know what that menu item was supposed to be.
Next up will be the main course, in all its extravagance and magnificence. Just the sauce is a meal in itself – you’ll see!
I guess a bite-sized bit of trivia is in order. The dead hippie you can see in this menu frame was played by Charles Napier, which is amusing because Charles Napier’s career from before this episode right up to 2011 has seen him playing 196 movie roles, almost all of which have been authority figures – a lifetime of playing cops and hard-assed military men. Even in counterculture hippie movies of the 60s and 70s, he usually played the straight man or the cop. So it’s a rare thing to see him on the side of the hippies. And for playing against type, the sentence was death by poison fruit.