CANNABIS OR GUASCAS ? DECEMBER 04, 2011
Back in the summer of 1964, I was still living on Temple Hills Dr.in Laguna Beach, still operating the very successful Mexico Lindo Restaurant inSan Juan Capistrano — and my son, Gary, was 20 years old. He and his buddy, Steve, had just returned from roaming around for several weeks south of the border inMexico. They were all pumped up over taking the trip by themselves, and they were just bursting to tell me what a great time they had and where they had been, etc.
The “etc.” was probably the subject they most wanted to get into. The three of us settled down in the area of the living room that is sort of walled off by the fireplace and bar (naturally there would be a 4-stool bar) in back of the fireplace, and this made for a very cozy, maybe 12×20 area, with windows from floor to top of A-frame ceiling — to capture the gorgeous view from Wood’s Cove south down to Aliso Beach and where the unique home of Richard Halliburton was perched high above Aliso Canyon. Halliburton was a famous adventurer and writer in the 1920’s and 30’s, and I was one who followed his career. He was lost at sea in a Chinese junk trying to cross the Pacific from Hong Kong toSan Franciscoin time for the 1939 World’s Fair. We were there at the Fair waiting for him to show up.
My story has certainly gone far afield, so back to the 2 adventurers. The three of us were seated all nice and comfy for me to hear the tales of their journey, and just shoot the breeze. The subjects covered went from “A” to “Z” — they used up some telling about the places they visited, and how they met some interesting people. They used up a lot of the alphabet, and these letters were used for sure: “G” for grass, “M” for marijuana, “P” for pot, and “W” for weed. Then Gary got very bold, and came right out and said: “Mena, wouldn’t you like to try some Marijuana!? I nearly lost my uppers —- I was quite taken aback. I replied, “NO, of course not!” Well, back and forth we went. He was pro — I was con. Steve was sitting quietly — no remarks out of him. These were the years when all the ”stuff” came on the scene along with the hippies hopping around in San Francisco. I finally gave in, had a few puffs — and I must’ve inhaled because I was feeling differently, a little goofier than usual. Told the kids to wait a minute, I had to do something. I went into the kitchen, got supplies out and started washing down a wall!! Then I came to, and wondered what the H— had caused me to wash down walls!! — I have a. housekeeper who takes care of all that.
Therein lies the Story of Marijuana. No more marijuana and washing down walls for me.
Now you say, where does this Guascas come in? What is it, and what does it have to do with anything? Herein lies the tale of something very good for you, and what’s more it’s very tasty too.
We will fast forward from 1964 to about a year-and-a-half ago in 2010. The Warden was making like the Wizard of Id in the kitchen, magically designing some soup. Her wand was wanding, the pot was filling up simmering away, and more ingredients were being tossed in with great abandon. I was busy doing my own thing, whatever it happened to be at the time, so was not paying attention — except I was aware that there was a lot of action going on, and she did at one point mention she was putting together a big pot of soup. I thought it was unusual for soup in the middle of summer, but no comment came out of me because I love soup any old time, but still it can be a little weird in 110° heat here in theCoachellaValley.
When it came close to dinner time, she presented me with a nice tequila on the rocks, salted glass, and squeeze of lime off our own Mexican Lime tree which was my reward for no broken House Rules that day, and I was surprised to hear that we were not having the soup for dinner because she was still having it simmer away and we would have it the next day.
Next day arrived — maybe about 9 AM for me — and I nearly fell off the bar stool when she served me a huge bowl of this steaming, fragrant soup for breakfast — yes, cheekin for breakfast because there was chicken in it besides all the many other ingredients. I scarfed that soup down in no time at all, had my coffee and read the newspaper, and suddenly felt this burst of energy throughout my carcass, got up and went off to find the things you would clean a kitchen with. Can YOU believe that? There I was cleaning the counter tops with much fervor. Here I was: the second time around.
It turns out that this magical ingredient in the soup is Guascas, an herb fromColombia, and if you look it up on google it will tell you all the good things about it. I thought for sure it must be related to you-know-what.
I shall prevail upon the Warden to give me the recipe which I will pass along, and how you can find it in the event you might want to make some to feed to your lazy kids — or hubby — even your friends.