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I can’t bring myself to write about politics this week. I tried. I really did. But the entire country is on its feet shouting at Cyril Ramaphosa and Shamila Batohi to do something big and brave and the constant echo from the void has left me disoriented and debilitated.
Let me rather tell you about my muffin. It was given to me by a friend. A woman friend. I have nothing against men giving each other muffins, but it’s not for me.
I had woken up in her boyfriend’s house after a spectacular bout of carousing ill-befitting my age and clearly looked like someone who needed a muffin.
What I really needed was one of her boyfriend’s five Ferraris languishing in his garage. He had shown them off the night before, but don’t ask me what model they were. I do recall a lot of red. It was very late and it was all I could do not to climb into one of them and curl up on the back seat. I had to settle for leaning heavily on one of them. I think it was the R6 million one. The boyfriend told me in no uncertain terms to step away from the merchandise. Bit rude. I can’t see the point of owning a car if you can’t sprawl across it from time to time.
Anyway. This is a story about muffins, not Ferraris. To be honest, a muffin was never going to do the trick. Not after a night like that. However, in the absence of a pethidine drip, I took the muffin. This turned out to be no ordinary muffin. I’m not saying it was a magic muffin. I’d never be that lucky. But it was different.
This was my very first gluten-free, vegan, banana muffin. Just saying it aloud made me feel confident enough to engage Greta Thunberg in conversation. The label warned that it was “Not Suitable For Celiacs”. It could just as well have said “Not Suitable For Coelacanths”. I had no idea what a celiac is and was too embarrassed to ask the boyfriend. You don’t get to own five Ferraris without knowing everything.
What if I was a celiac? Would this muffin kill me? Would my feet swell up and explode? I knew for certain that he wouldn’t want me eating it in his garage. This was not the kind of man who would risk having shrapnel of shredded phalanges all over his collection.
Maybe celiacs aren’t people at all. It sounds like it could be a different species altogether. It’s not hard to imagine that, say, platypuses are members of the celiac family. But then why would this be on a South African product? I’m not saying we don’t have platypuses. That would be a cheap knee-jerk denialist position to take. All I’m saying is nobody has ever seen one in this country. Or if they have, they are keeping it to themselves.
Out in the street, I tore the wrapping off and sank my teeth into it. He was a very big boy, this muffin. Easily the size of a baby’s head. If I was a celiac, I’d know all about it by the time I was done with this beast. You know how sometimes you wonder if you might have taken too much acid and whether you’re going to survive? It was a bit like that, except without the laughter, hallucinations or naked terror. Just a gnawing apprehension that my feet might explode.
Nothing of the sort happened. In fact, it turned out to be a life-changing muffin. It was the Rolls-Royce of muffins. If that muffin were able to talk, it could have started its own religion. I doubt I shall ever eat another non-vegan, gluten-riddled muffin again.
You might question the value of any baked item which caters for sensitive eco-warriors and empaths but will, simultaneously, not hesitate to destroy a celiac.
Perhaps that is as it should be. Celiacs, whoever or whatever they are, can make their own damn muffins. I used to be intolerant of gluten-intolerant people, but the focus of my scorn has now shifted entirely to celiacs. The king of muffins not good enough for you, hmm?
Unlike other products where you need an electron microscope to scrutinise the list of ingredients, this muffin lays it out clearly in letters large enough for a guide dog to read. Gluten-free flour is the basic building block of this magnificent piece of confectionery. I honestly can’t say I missed the gluten. Or, for that matter, know precisely what gluten is.
Why did people start putting this filth in flour in the first place? It’s like the police insisting on spraying glyphosate on cannabis crops in the Transkei. It’s not necessary. The plants are far happier without it.
This muffin also contains organic banana. I doubt I will ever eat another one of those factory-produced bananas again. Sure, synthetic bananas last longer – up to a hundred years in some cases – and they are cheaper than bananas that grow on actual trees, like, organically, but it takes forever to get through them and they can’t be terribly good for you.
This mother of all muffins also contains organic coconut sugar. I didn’t even know you could get sugar from a coconut. I only ever got rum with a coconutty after-taste. I also don’t know if it’s any healthier for you than sugar made the traditional way, i.e. soaking sugar cane in vats of distilled heroin then leaving it to dry on beds of cocaine.
It also contains Khoisan salt. This is the best kind of salt. The Khoisan used it with all their meals and, for all we know, were Africa’s original muffin makers.
For that reason alone, we should have treated them with more respect and less genocide. It wouldn’t surprise me if the manufacturers of these superlative snacks don’t have a touch of the Khoisan about them.
It was only after I had wolfed the last morsel that I noticed it was three days past its best-before date.
It also occurred to me that my friend hadn’t bothered checking whether I was a celiac. Was she trying to murder me? It certainly seemed like it. The boyfriend definitely wanted me dead. Nobody touches one of his Ferraris without permission and gets to live.
This whole business has put me right off muffins. I think I’ll stick to politics in future. It might make me sick, but it won’t kill me.
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