I don’t know why anyone would search on congealed remains of porridge. Nonetheless, yesterday not just one, but two searches on that term led people to my blog.
If you Google on that search term yourself, you’ll find two results beating out my blog for the highest ranked searches.
Top honors goes to “In Vietnam, Cauldrons on Every Corner” by David Farley in the New York Times for 21 Mar 2010, which story begins,
“You like congealed pigs’ blood?” my travel companion asked, pulling me over to a street cart in Ho Chi Minh City. Before I could answer, two bowls of chao, a rice porridge bobbing with slices of pork sausage and cubes of coagulated blood, were plopped in our hands.
Pig’s blood porridge? It’s like a conflation of “Goldilocks & the Three Bears” & the “Three Little Pigs”! But the story’s worth a read: it’s about a culinary tour of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) led by Michael Huynh, one of New York’s top Vietnamese chef’s & restaurateurs. The article had a similar effect on me as the Vietnam passages of Anthony Bourdain‘s A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines: it makes me really want to visit Vietnam and try some of that great food. Maybe even pig’s blood porridge!
Failing a trip to Vietnam, maybe I’ll reread Bourdain’s book and visit my local Vietnamese restaurant.
The next highest search result is a detailed answer to the question, “When are liquids considered like solids? [liquids: congealed]“ from “The Gisi Turkel Maseches Nazir: Outlines of Halachos from the DAF” prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). This was more difficult reading for me, as it contained a number of unfamiliar terms — though I did see pretty quickly that it had to do with Jewish dietary law.
Halachos, Wikipedia reveals, is “the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot) and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions,” and Kollel Iyun Hadaf is a group of Jewish religious scholars, teachers, and writers operating from P’nei Shmuel Synagogue of Har Nof, Jerusalem. One of its rabbis, Rabbi Pesach Feldman, is charged with preparing point-by-point outlines for the Dafyomi Advancement Forum (DAF). Daf yomi, meaning literally page of the day (or, more accurately, folio of the day, because both sides of the page are studied), is, per Wikipedia, “a daily regimen undertaken to study the Babylonian Talmud one folio…a day. Under this regimen, the entire Talmud would be completed, one day at a time, in a cycle of seven and a half years.” Thousands of Jews worldwide participate daily in this study of the Talmud, a central record of Jewish rabbinic discussions on Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs, and history.
So what this search result landed me on was a point-by-point outline intended to assist students of Talmud around the world in their daily study — in this case, a folio from Nazir, a treatise of the Talmud “devoted chiefly to a discussion of the laws of the Nazirite laid down in Numbers 6: 1–21″ of the Hebrew Bible (per Wikipedia).
I like knowing this. I like having stumbled upon an entire web of human relationship in which men and women around the world are deepening their connections to one another and to their faith.
But what about the third search result? This is the one that actually landed two people on my blog: on the story “Goldilocks & the Three Bears: A Retelling” — the only one of the top three search results, I might add, that includes the terms congealed remained of porridge as a complete, unified phrase. [Patting myself on the back.]
The fifth search result, incidentally, lands people in my Flickr photostream at the picture that inspired the story, and where the story first appeared. I wrote the tale for a Flickr group called “Lost Objects” that a friend of mine started in 2006. “I like to go hiking,” my friend said, “and when I do, I come across a lot of lost objects. These objects raise questions, stories and that’s why I thought of creating a group were anyone can put their photos of lost objects they found and, if they want, tell a story about it, true or just imagination.” My lost object was an abandoned red & white teddy bear I spotted one day at Fairbanks Street & E. Northern Lights Boulevard in Anchorage.
“Goldilocks & the Three Bears: A Retelling” also has the distinction of being the 10th most popular post on my blog, with 603 hits to date. It’s my second most popular post that has nothing to do with politics (the first being “Queensland floods” with 1,007 hits to date), which gives it a special place in my heart, since Henkimaa is trying really hard not to be a politics blog, and to be much more about stuff that feeds my spirit, like my writing.
And like laughter. Because this story is also funny. So please feel encouraged to increase my “not about politics” stats by clicking through & reading it.
(Disclaimer: there’s no conflation with the “Three Little Pigs.”)
I close with a special hat tip to Steve Aufrecht, whose posts about weird Google searches on his blog What Do I Know? served as inspiration for this post.