Page 179: All-Purpose by Michelle Hytner

All-Purpose by Michelle Hytner

An average lime contains around twenty calories worth of juice and sour pulp. Key limes—smaller yet arguably more flavorful than their larger, store-bought counterparts—are not included in this figure. Most often when I’ve found myself enjoying key limes, they have been juiced into custard-filled pies or squeezed into specialty cocktails, which enormously skews their projected calorie count into a figure I couldn’t care less about.

I haven’t been able to get my custard fix since the only shop in Manhattan to sell frozen custard closed down last month without a breath of notice. I continue to mourn its absence by refusing to seek custard in other boroughs.

After attending a class at SoulCycle, a friend recounted to me that the leader of one section stoically mentioned that if Robin Williams attended regular classes with them, he would not have felt the urge to hang himself. The leader then continued to pedal as if what he said was gospel. I mused to my friend that there was an inherent difference between drinking the Kool-Aid and chugging it.

Robin Williams famously struck Pierce Brosnan in the back of the head with a high-velocity lime during a pool scene in the classic film “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Pierce brushes it off, but James Bond may have reacted differently to limey battery.

Scurvy, an affliction caused by a Vitamin C deficiency, presents itself with symptoms of depression and spongy gums. Sailors were among the most commonly afflicted due to their lousy diets of cured meats and dried grains. Limes, rich in ascorbic acid, were prescribed as a palliative measure to combat the disease. The Kakadu plum actually contains far more Vitamin C per serving than limes do, but it’s native to Australia and hoarded by Aborigines for cosmetic use.

Ninety-seven percent of U.S. limes are grown in Mexico, a country known for its savory chocolate mole sauce and questionable treatment of donkeys. This year, torrential rains damaged the delicate lime blossoms, and cartels have taken to hoarding and selling limes instead of uncut bricks of cocaine. This is perhaps why my favorite Thai restaurant no longer includes a small wedge of lime with my order of Pad Thai unless I ask nicely.

A run-of-the-mill, traditional gin and tonic is served with a wedge of lime balanced on the edge of the glass. The people at Hendricks Gin decided to exempt themselves from this tradition by calling for a slice of cucumber to garnish instead. This is why I drink Bombay Sapphire. They get me.


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