The Chronicles of Kiwi, Part 17
Kunekune

I mentioned the other day my unfortunate shaving incident. I postulated a theory that the rich humidity of this island caused the swelling of my chin-skin, thus offering a ripe melon scenario for the three blades of my dancing razor.  I have noticed the humidity is having a similar effect on my waste line. I’m sure when I get back to Durango all this humidity induced swelling will go down and everything will snap back into place the moment I deplane.

Oh, the sweet, sweet lies we tell.

Speaking of sweet lies, yeast does marvelous things at sea level causing the pastry industry here to flourish. It’s something I had known but had forgotten to take into account in respect to my temptation meter. The variety of brilliant and unique tartlets, offered every inch of the way throughout New Zealand, has been astonishing. To be quite honest, once you’ve said this line, “Since I’m on vacation…I’ll just have one small bite,” it is game over.  Nobody in your party believes you. Neither do you believe them. You don’t believe yourself. These are vacation lies. The swine switch has been tripped. We each know that we’re setting ourselves up for an entire day of “small bites.” I’m having one now. Several of them. Hobbits famously enjoy a second breakfast. The Shire folk are just an hour or so away. They inspire me.

And it’s not just the pastries…I also discovered macadamia nut brittle. I’ve had the poor America cousin – i.e. peanut brittle  – all my life. I can take it or leave it.  But with macadamia nut brittle it is all , “TAKE! TAKE! TAKE!”  The brittle part is made of caramelized butter and honey and then a surfeit of macadamia nuts. That’s it. It is one of those foods that causes panic once you’ve tasted it. The lips are angry with the teeth for taking so long to chew while the stomach is saying, “Is that all you got? C’mon! Move it, move it, move it!” It is the closet I’ve ever come to grunting like a pig. Check that…I DID grunt like a pig. I went totally swine. It happens when you forget to breathe while eating. It was so good that I put my own life at risk. I bought some for my mother-in-law, took one nibble, and promptly downed the whole thing.  I just stood there dazed, with glistening, buttery fingers, wondering what had just taken place.

Should I survive,  I’ll file my last two or three reports from NZ before heading home. Until then I shall teach you the Maori word for “pig.” Again, hearing it in the Maori language just makes it sound so much better. The word is, “Kunekune.”  As with so many of the Maori words, they repeat themselves. We’ve met up with, Kerikeri (swirl, swirl) and Katikati (nibble slowly, nibble slowly).  And now we have Kunekune (pig, pig). Had I done more of the Katikati I wouldn’t now be writing of the Kunekune. But the Katikati turned out to be “impossible, impossible” in the presence of macadamia nut brittle.