Along with sight, touch, smell, hearing, taste, style, compassion, proportion, fun, and fair play, we have an eleventh sense, which alerts us to news. A news sense. When It flares up, besides taking a certain over-the-counter medicine we’ll do what we have to do to find out what’s going on, even if it means attending a party, like the one last week at the home of the commercial consul for New Zealand, Craig Rickit. You remember Hurricane Kiwi, of course, the source of the greatest food-area turbulence in the nouvelle era. Kiwis have subsided—“They have come down from their pedestal and joined the ranks of other fruits and vegetables,” Tom Jones, who was catering the party, told us—but New Zealand has more products in development for the fin-de-siècle Manhattan market. These are some you will be hearing about:
The orange roughly. “It’s very hot fish,” said Mr. Rickit. “Frankly, it’s a very, very hot ugly fish. Its name is appropriate. What does it look like? It’s very, very ugly. But that’s not how people see it, because it arrives here in fillets.”
Tamarillos, or tree tomatoes. “They are red or yellow, with shiny skin,” said Mr. Rickit. “As an industry, they are at the same stage of development that kiwis were at maybe fifteen or twenty years ago.”
“Do they taste like currants?” asked Jean Woodson, of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Authority, who was at the party (and was talking up kiwi soda, kiwi ice cream, kiwi sorbet and kiwi sliced directly over breakfast cereal).
“No,” said Mr. Rickit.
Farm-raised venison. A lot of this was being served at the party. Three years ago, there were only a handful of deer farmers in New Zealand, but now, said Kenn Stransky, of Shaffer, Clarke & Company, the importer, there are some eight hundred deer farms. “A good breeding doe can run you forty thousand dollars,” he said. “The deer are very docile—they’re raised right next to sheep. We are the first people to offer a de-sinewed, deboned product cut into the nine major muscles.” Mr. Stransky’s company also offers a specially created bird, the poussin, which is a hybrid of a chicken and another bird, whose identity he refused to disclose. We deplore secrecy.
Green-lipped mussels. “They’re a farm product as well, so they can be grown bite-sized,” said Mr. Rickit. “They’re grown on a rope, so there’s no sand or grit problem. It’s new—very new.”
New Zealand also exports a lot of other items—especially lamb and casein, a milk by-product that is used as, among other things, a binder in certain prepared foods, such as frozen pizzas. Kiwis aid in the preparation of a kiwi chicken salad. Or eat them with a spoon, as if they were a bitty melon. It rained during the kiwi pollination season this year, so they’re a little smaller than usual, but, as always, a serving of two kiwis has twice the Vitamin E of an avocado.