Have A Lovely Leaf Week!

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about festivities. As in, the festivities for your very own, universally-accepted holiday. I’m not much of the personal celebratory type – I haven’t done anything for my birthday in years – so a holiday in my honor would probably be pretty boring. At first, I thought about having it on the autumnal equinox, because…well, autumn is my favorite time of year. But then I realized: it’d be much cooler if it had something to do with my own spiritual tree, like Yggdrasil. A single leaf falls once a year, imbued with  enough magic to power and feed the entire planet for a week. As it hits the ground and its powers dissipates, an unmistakable flash light envelopes the sky, signaling for the festivities to begin. A cheer roars across the planet as mere mortals are swept up in the spectacle.

…Or something. It looks amazing in my imagination.

The main symbol of this week-long festival would be the leaf of a California redwood, as befitting of my homeland. Each individual would be able to craft one – and only one – using whatever materials they can find. Paper mache, platinum, wool, dental floss, whatever you can use creatively. If the family is large, they might have a whole row of them lined up. You could take along as you travel, taking pictures of it in front of exotic or famous locales. If you’re stuck at home, your creations would be posted either on the front door – weather and/or lack of crime permitting – or hanging from your bookshelf. It ties into the other fundamental part of the holiday: reading. Not only do you get the week off to read your favorite book, but you’re actively encouraged to trade books with someone else. You get to read something new, thus growing your tree of knowledge!

If you prefer cooking for the holidays, there would plenty of specialty dishes to make. It’s just got to be either really sweet, or really spicy. Homemade spumoni is the one of the greatest desserts ever, and I’d want festival-goers to trade recipes and invent something tasty and creative. If you can’t find the ingredients, then any form of the classic Cookies & Cream would suffice. Roasted, spicy octopus (seriously, it’s delicious) would be one of the main courses, along with substantial helpings of chicken and salads practically dripping with scotch bonnets and jalepños. Because you’re not a hardcore leaf maker/book exchanger unless you’re burning your tongue at the same time. If you can’t handle the heat, then at least partake in some amazing sourdough bread from the Acme Bread Company.

Oh, and one last thing. At the beginning of the week, each person as of legal age is magically granted a round-trip teleportation to any place of his or her choosing. Anywhere on Earth is up for grabs, no matter how impractical. Imagine spending a week in Lake Tahoe, Machu Picchu, or Tokyo! You’d get to see new places and trade books! However, this impromptu vacation can’t be used as an escape device; as soon as the festival ends, you’re whisked back to where you started. The magic burns out on its own, so you can’t save them up over the years. You’ve got to make the experience count. Also, the accommodations would need to be planned on your own ahead of time. Dress warm!

Daily Prompt: Simply Irresistible, Or: Spicy Around The World

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about temptation. No, not the trashy novel kind. This is about the food that you just can’t turn down, regardless of better judgment and/or guilt tripping. I’m not a big eater by any means – people marvel at the carefully portioned, home-made lunches I bring every day – but I’m a sucker for a few things. My sweet-tooth yearns for Cookies and Cream in any style; I even got some cupcake ones for my last birthday! The best part of the holidays is my family’s awesome homemade spumoni. In terms of regular meals, however, I’ve got to go with chicken and fish. Salmon with freshly-squeezed lemon? Yes, please. Chicken marsala? I will hunger.

Here’s the thing about chicken and fish. They’re fine on their own, but they’re even better when they’re spicy. I’ve always loved spicy food, even as a child. Lemon and herb, cayenne pepper, rosemary, jalepeños, garlic, onions, basil…There’s so much potential. Sure, my breath may cause an environmental disaster afterwards, but I don’t care. You think that stuff stinks? Try eating a durian. There’s a very good reason why some countries ban it from public places. Oh, and if you want a place that has a huge variety of spices and really good food in general, I highly recommend the casbah in Tangier, Morocco. You will never find another place with such a ridiculously huge amount of fresh products. Moroccan saffron (no, not the Pokemon city) is almost criminally delicious.

After traveling and tasting all of that, I didn’t think I could be surprised anymore. Especially not in Aruba, where I was visiting just this past April. That island is an incredibly popular tourist spot for a reason: it’s quite possibly the most hassle-free place you can find. Aruba is all about tourism, for the better and worse. The staffs are really accommodating and speak English well. Multilingualism is a huge part of their education system. But it doesn’t feel like a foreign country; it has all of those tried and true fast food places and services you’d see back home. There’s no thrill, just the ever-present trade winds and utterly stunning beaches. I never thought I’d find great Caribbean food in this hive of sand and tourism…until I went to downtown Oranjestad and came across this:

Iguana Joe’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sandwich

Take a good look. Jamaican Jerk-seasoned chicken breast with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a chunk of fried pineapple. This ensemble was further enriched with Iguana Joe’s legendary Caribbean spice hot sauces. I’m not kidding. That stuff is so good that the restaurant sells and ships it worldwide. I don’t remember all the ingredients, but scotch bonnet was definitely part of it. The resulting wonderful, tongue-blisteringly spicy dish was the best thing I ate the entire time. After I returned home, I stocked up on Caribbean spices and had chicken sandwiches every day for a week.

…Yeah, I’m going to make some more of that tomorrow.