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Thai Tapioca Pudding

The other day, I was involved in the type of incident that makes me think, “Only me….”

Wednesday was Kamehameha Day, a state holiday in Hawaii. I was enjoying my day off, but there was some work to be done, so I stopped by one of our facilities on my way to town to do some errands. As this particular facility is in a state building, I expected the main entrances to be closed and that I would use my key to go directly into our space. Instead, I found the doors to our space open, and remnant carpet piled up outside of it. I peeked in and saw a new carpet almost completely unfurled in the room, only a 3 foot wide strip of concrete remaining exposed. “Hello?” I called in, and I was met by the two men redoing the carpet. I asked them if it was OK for me to go through the space and they said sure, it was not a problem. I cut through the room into one of our offices, where I was surprised to find several other people there, as well, doing some work. We all have a problem staying away, I suppose …

I finished my task in about 15 minutes and I was excited to be back on my way to town. Sunglasses on my face, purse slung over my shoulder, my two phones in one hand, my car keys in the other, I went back out the way I came. This time the men were not in the room, and everything looked the same … yet it took just one foot placed onto the concrete for me to realize that something was very, very different. Imagine the most perfect of pratfalls, the classic slip on the banana peel … suddenly I was looking up at my feet and involuntarily unleashing a noise that was somewhere between a yelp and a shriek. I came down most ungracefully onto my lower back with an astonishingly loud thud.

The two men, having heard the ungentle meeting of my body to the concrete, came running into the room and their jaws dropped at the scene before them. I looked up in dismay and asked the question to which I already knew the answer: “What am I covered in?”

“Carpet glue.”

That’s right, folks. In the fifteen minutes that had passed from my entrance into the space, a very thick layer of industrial carpet glue was spread onto the concrete. The men had left it for a few minutes to become tacky, when along I came, unsuspecting and obliviously toting along all of my belongings … that were now covered in glue.

The men, who were very kind, told me to quickly get up and get to the bathroom because the glue is water-soluble. The unfortunate thing about wallowing in a puddle of carpet glue is that the only way to get up out of it is to roll around in it some more so that you can position yourself to stand up without slip-sliding and falling again. Talk about adding insult to injury! As I stood up, big fat gloplets of glue dropped from me to the floor. One of the men helped to lift me out of my shoes, which were now sticking quite stubbornly to the floor, and I hurried into the bathroom, where I discovered that the glue was only kind of water-soluble. I was able to get most of it off of my hands, but it was smeared all over my arms, all over my back from my mid back down to my thighs, it was on the front of my shirt, it was all over my purse, it was on my phones, it was on my keys, it was on the remote locking device for my car, it was on my sunglasses … at least the part of my glasses that I had. I had hit the ground so hard that one of my lenses had popped out!

I quickly realized that I was fighting a losing battle with the glue in the bathroom. I decided to focus my efforts on my hands, so that I could grip the steering wheel of my car without becoming one with it, and my keys so that I would not be sticking a glue key into my ignition. Having accomplished a decent enough job on my hands and keys, I came back outside where the men were waiting for me with my shoes, which they had unstuck from the floor and cleaned for me. After I assured them many times that I was OK, they cut a large scrap of carpet for me to place on my car seat so that I would not get glue all over my car. Of course, when I got home and stepped out of my car, I then had carpet stuck to me, and I wondered if the neighbors were watching (somebody should be, I thought … it really was quite funny).

Into a big bucket of soapy water went my clothes and sunglasses (the men had retrieved my other lens from the scene of the accident) … under the no-nonsense scrubbing of a scrubber sponge went my skin … cotton balls bathed in baby oil removed the remaining gunky glue from my keys and car remote … my phones were dismantled and placed in front of a fan … and I took some ibuprofen and applied to ice to my sure-to-be bruised lower back. One of my phones survived, but the other had to be replaced by Verizon (and with a different model, at that, since they stopped making my old phone … I’m finding the new one a bit difficult to warm up to.)

So … what do you do when your foot takes an unexpected step and your day ends up with you all covered in glue? First, you laugh at the absurdity of it all, and then you make a big batch of tapioca to soothe your bruised and battered self.

In the past month or so I’ve grown quite found of tapioca pudding but I hadn’t yet tried making it for myself. I made two different batches in an attempt to get the consistency right (traditional tapioca calls for eggs to thicken it up). For the first batch I used two tablespoons of Ener-G egg replacer, which made the tapioca quite thick. I actually really liked the consistency of that batch, but I made a second batch with a thinner consistency, which is what is listed below. First I enjoyed my tapioca warm with sliced strawberries … then I enjoyed it again later chilled with mixed berries. Both were delicious … and both helped to make the soreness of my aching back more bearable.

Thai Tapioca

½ cup large tapioca pearls
1 can light coconut milk
1 cup vanilla soy milk + 1 tbsp Ener-G egg replacer
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

1. Bring the coconut milk to a boil, add tapioca pearls, and simmer (keeping some bubbling action) over medium low heat for 10 minutes. Be sure to stir often to prevent the tapioca pearls from sticking to the pot. (The package of tapioca pearls recommended letting them soak for 24 hours in a cup of milk. I wanted my tapioca now so I devised this step to hasten the process.)

2. Whisk the soy milk and egg replacer together. Whisk it into the coconut milk mixture, along with the sugar and salt, and be sure that everything is well combined. Simmer the mixture for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Serve warm or refrigerate to serve chilled.

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