Friday, July 29, 2005

Bad hair day

TELEVISION is heavily tattooed with shampoo commercials—why, the idiot box is all slathered up and virtually oozing with shampoo suds. The market for hair care preparations must be lucratively huge.

Or most people in these islands have gone bonkers over their hair, so hair care has become a national obsession. Never mind what’s under the scalp and skull, hair care is the order of the day. Say, beer suds also does wonders for hair setting but San Miguel Corp. won’t advertise it as such.

Now, the rind of kabuyaw—the so-called kaffir lime or Citrus hystrix – can lend a silky sheen plus a delicate sweetish scent to a maiden’s midnight tresses. Kabuyaw is now quite difficult to find—a seed-grown 6-inch tall sapling cost us P150 and it took months hopping from one garden show to another before we actually got one.

So, it will take 2-3 years before such pathetic sapling finally grows into a decent size and starts yielding the genuine article that tops every shampoo preparation currently available in plastic sachets and non-biodegradable plastic containers.

As we licked our chops over prospects of huge savings from having nature’s version of a hair care formula, we found out that three caterpillars have feasted and grew fat on the foliage of the kabuyaw sapling. It took less than a week before those leaf nibblers stopped their infestation and just hung out cocooned on a kabuyaw thorn— and turned up a surprise of three green-and-black winged butterflies.

So the kabuyaw stood there nearly defoliated—and those precious leaves ought to have gone into a quaint tangy broth for Viet and Thai cookery or into plain sinigang.

The few days of rain have nudged the sapling to put forth some tender buds that’ll hopefully replace the gnawed-out ones. That means in a week or two, we can try out either a Viet or Thai stew.

See: there’s a whale of a difference between shampoo preparations that choke the idiot box and this hard-to-find genuine article. The fruit rind goes to hair care. The fruit pulp goes into flavoring kinilaw na tanigue or a unique version of lemonade.

The leaves are for cooking up something tasteful and exotic—uh, make that whatever the caterpillars that turn into butterflies can leave untouched ought to turn up something delicious.

Shampoo won’t be drizzled on kinilaw na tanigue. Or mixed into a marinade. Or stirred into an exotic broth. Shampoo containers won’t ever be a nursery for butterflies.

Don’t consider this as an advertisement for ersatz shampoo to ease a bad hair day.

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