I think I’ve read Oskar and the Ice Pick a hundred times.
It’s such a brilliantly written book. There’s no lengthy discussions. No explanations. Just a pure and crazy storyline. Its also quite dark and cold. There are orphans, kidnappings, long and dangerous journeys and dark evil characters. Children are even locked in prison. All the rules of childhood seem to have been abandoned. Even the ice-cream is DEADLY!
The story features Oskar who is told that he needs to take an ice pick to his mountaineering mad mother in the Himalayas. He is accompanied by a singing gorillagram called Henrietta. When they arrive, they are kidnapped by Yetis. The Yetis see Henrietta dressed as a Gorilla and treat her as a queen. Meanwhile, Oskar escapes, only to be kidnapped again and imprisoned in a deep dark prison.
While in prison, he meets the Great Khone, Ernest Ebenezer Barnstubury Tooks. He has been imprisoned, along with Oskar.
However, this is no ordinary cell. “Every cell is unique, . Every wall and floor is diference flavour. Your cell is strawberry and vanilla and the floor is pineapple….And the flavours in my cell, are quite unlike yours. Far more sophisticated…in this cell I have one wall of grapefruit, one of mango sherbet, one of artichoke, the fourth of parsnip and a floor of tandoori chicken.”
“The evil punishment cell…looks dazzlingly clean and beautiful with pure white walls, but each wall is made of a different deadly substance. One wall is made of bleach icecream, another of mothball mixture, another of rat poison and the fourth of plaster of paris.”
The Khone is a bit of an uglier version of Willy Wonka, but his ice-cream concoctions are as fantastical and complicated as any Wonka-chocolate. The Magic Miracle Multi-Lick – are monster shaped ice-creams on sticks. With every lick the ice-cream becomes a more hideous monster, until you are left with a vampire tooth that pricks your tonugue and covers it in strawberry ice-cream.
The deeply dark and evil Controller, however, has much more sinister plans with the ice-cream. Plans to control the world. Mwah, ha ha (deep evil laughing). How could a nefarious plan involving ice-cream possibly fail, however, there’s a sickly sweet twist at the end of the book.
For any other foodie evil geniuses, there are plenty of foods that can kill. Check out this great episode of Poirot where the murder weapon is a fish paste sandwich! I have had an irrational craving for Shippams paste ever since.
Fugu – Pufferfish. So cute, but so deadly. Its the tetrodotoxin in fugu that is likely to either paralyse or kill you if the chef doesn’t cut it in precisely the right way.
Casu Marzu: This is a decomposing Sardinian cheese – literally crawling with maggots of the cheese fly – that can pass into your intestines and get up to all sort of mischief too distgusting to describe here – so check there instead.
Deadly Conocybe, Death Cap and the Destroying Angel: These are the trio of terrible mushrooms. Their names say it all – as their toxins will destroy your liver, cause dizziness, vomiting and eventual death.
Namibian Bull Frog: Although it may taste like chicken, it will cause kidney failure. Just go for the chicken instead.
Raw Milk: It may sound romantic to have milk straight from the cow – but its likely to contain salmonella, escherichia and brucella if unpasteurised.
Ackee: I’ve had this for breakfast and its quite delicious, but had no idea that the giant black seed is deadly poisonous. The hypoglycin in the seed will lead to uncontrollable vomiting and then death.
Durians. I took this description straight from Zagat, because it is so hilarious. “Reportedly, this Southeast Asian fruit can be deadly when combined with alcohol, but that’s not the only risk it presents. It can prove fatal when falling from a high-hanging limb onto your noggin’, and can even kill something else: your relationship. According to Anthony Bourdain on No Reservations, after eating it “your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.”
Coconut Milk and Raspberry Semi Freddo
This recipe is far from deadly. In fact, its quite the opposite. Its a healthy and delicious alternative to creamy ice-creams. I’m sure the Khone would approve.
2 cups raw, unsalted cashews
3 tsps honey
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup greek yoghurt (try Rachel’s Greek Yoghurt, this is nice and thick)
juice of 2 lemons, and rind from 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
Handful of fresh or frozen raspberries / blackberries
1. Soak the cashews in water for 2 hours.
2. Add the honey, coconut milk, yoghurt, lemon juice and rind, yoghurt and salt – and blend.
3. Either drop in some raspberries or blackberries or blend them together for colour. Make sure you cover your contained well before putting in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
4. Eat with a Yeti and a copy of Oskar & the Ice Pick.