The Ancient Menu That’ll Get You Hiiigh

Punjab wouldn’t have a drug problem, if only they read their ancestors’ menu card. Or just peeped into the kitchen!

Published
India
4 min read
Whether you wish to live the high life or think you’re a high flyer or are just looking for a high, just say ‘hi’ and come on in! (Photo: iStockphoto)

Good evening, Madam, Sir! Welcome to ‘The High’, where everything on the menu is set to give you a (legal) transcendental gastronomic experience. Shall I present today’s menu? Do relax, while I begin with the aperitif...

The Aperitif (A Drink/Whiff to Get You H‘igh’ngry)

Today we have two choices of aperitifs. While we stock them both in ‘litres’, one of them is gaseous and must be inhaled.

First off, we have Pythian spring water delicately laced with ethylene and light hydrocarbons. This is the spring from which the Delphis of Ancient Greece drew their trances. They foresaw war and victory, foretold murder and rains.
Ancient, occult euphoria! Served with twelve seeds of Persian pomegranate.

The second is relatively recent and was quite in vogue in post Renaissance France – a 250 ml cylinderette of NOS (nitrous oxide).

As is typical of an aperitif, we have enhanced the sweetness through infusions of Hawaiian pineapple and mild Borneo jackfruit essence. Your dinner cabin will be temporarily sound-proofed, so you may laugh freely, should you wish to!

No comments. (Photo Courtesy: Wiki Commons)
No comments. (Photo Courtesy: Wiki Commons)
Giggle like Gentlemen!
Most of Europe (French and British upper class) erupted in uncontrollable giggling fits at ‘laughter parties’ from the late 1700s. It would take doctors another 50 years to consider its use as an anesthetic.

Plat Principal (the Main Course) and Vintage Coca-Cola

Like the Ancient Mayans,  today’s Andeans chew, brew and smoke this leaf. It grows all over South America naturally. (Photo: iStockphoto)
Like the Ancient Mayans, today’s Andeans chew, brew and smoke this leaf. It grows all over South America naturally. (Photo: iStockphoto)

Of course, we’re not going to stuff you. This isn’t that kind of restaurant. We need you high and awake, so you enjoy all our courses.

And so we bring you some decocanised ‘Coca Leaf’ (prohibited in its purest form) from the deeeep Peruvian Andes. Just a few leaves (100 gm) will take care of your daily recommended intake of calcium, phosphorous, iron and vitamins A, B2 and E.

Just fold and place in your right cheek. Chew slowly.

Of course, you can wash it down with an 1899 bottle of Coca-Cola, chock full of coca leaf extracts.

In other words, pure cocaine. :-)

We saved a coupon for you, from waaay back. You’re welcome. (Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia)
We saved a coupon for you, from waaay back. You’re welcome. (Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia)
‘Coca’ - Cola! Get it?
Cocaine-Caffeine decoction. From 1888 to 1903, a glass or bottle of coke was exactly that! It contained 9 mg of cocaine. A ‘line’ of cocaine contains 50 mg. Just five glasses those days would get you really high! And addicted!

Chew on Some Nutmeg Cookys

If you do insist on a comestible, may I present to you, a platter of four of the chewiest dark chocolate ‘Koekjes’ with a powdered nutmeg and cream cheese centre. This is a Dutch recipe from the 1620s and is recreated using fragrant coconut oil as a cohesion agent. As you bite into your fourth cooky (in Irish brogue), you will begin to experience a cocaine high. Bon appetit!

Yup, it’s sitting in your kitchen. And it’s what got your ancestors high. It was <i>also </i>used to cure asthma and heart disease. (Photo: iStockphoto)
Yup, it’s sitting in your kitchen. And it’s what got your ancestors high. It was also used to cure asthma and heart disease. (Photo: iStockphoto)
Dopey Spice!
Malcom X drank a nutmeg decoction, as a marijuana substitute while in prison. ‘Nuff said. He called it a ‘semi-drug’ in his autobiography. But I think he meant Semma (Tamil slang for awesome) Drug.

Freebasing on Betel Nut and Paan

Mmmmmmm! Depending on the dosage, it’s either nicotine or cocaine. It’s a stimulant, it’s psychoactive and it’s Mmmmmmmmm! That’s what I call a <b><i>package</i></b> deal. (Photo: iStockphoto)
Mmmmmmm! Depending on the dosage, it’s either nicotine or cocaine. It’s a stimulant, it’s psychoactive and it’s Mmmmmmmmm! That’s what I call a package deal. (Photo: iStockphoto)

This not only aids digestion, it also gives you a high. Upon a tender Areca leaf, we place a sliver of lime. And then gently drop shavings of three and a half betel nuts, followed by Gul Receli a Turkish variant of the Gulquand, with Arabian date sugar, cardamom from Calicut and powdered white-pearl – all neatly folded into a conical taco.

This is a slow burn high that is also an effective aphrodisiac.

Freebasing Yo!
Applying lime (chuna) to the leaf releases the alkaloids (high-inducing stuff) in the nut and leaf resulting in easy absorption into the blood stream, some of it right through the tongue! That’s called freebasing. 

That’s about it, Sir, Madam.

I do understand that the right words generate a certain amount of buzz.

But you’re here for a different reason. A different kind of buzz.

And so, how may I serve you, today?

(Vikram Venkateswaran is a freelance writer, TV producer and media consultant. Headings, titles and captions are his kryptonite. He just moved to Chennai and hopes the city likes him and is nice to him.)

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