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The Last Surgeon by Michael Palmer
Lost Worlds: Adventures in the Tropical Rainforest by Bruce M. Beehler
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Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli by Barbara Jean Hicks and Sue Hendra
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Comments for The Perfect Cup of Coffee

The Perfect Cup of Coffee: 05/31/10

Coffee Checkers

The first cup of coffee I ever drank was the perfect cup of coffee. Most of that perfection was wrapped up in circumstance. I was backpacking through the Australian bush with a group of fellow exchange students. The tidal river we were hiking along was in the process of flooding making for muddy and sometimes treacherous conditions. We had taken a power boat from our previous camping area to the start of our next hike. The mud made getting to shore impossible and we had to slog through waist high sludge. I lost my shoes in the process and had to fish them out. So I was, wet, exhausted and covered head to to toe in tidal mud that smelled as appealing as week old dead fish.

The local man, a bloke named Bob took pity on me and offered me a chance to share a cup of coffee. So I sat with Bob in his Ford Prefect as he poured coffee into a red thermos cup. I hadn't started reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy yet (that experience was a year away for me). Otherwise I would have been giggling. Anyway, I'd never had coffee before but I was so grateful to have somewhere to sit other than on a rock or in the mud that I said thank you and took a sip. It might as well have been ambrosia. It was perfect.

Perfection comprised: milky, sweet, lukewarm coffee.

For the last twenty years I have been trying to recreate that perfect cup. I have gotten close but never there until today and I did it quite by accident.

I normally keep half and half on hand for drinking coffee and eating hot cereal. Since I've had a bad cold I haven't felt up to drinking coffee. The half and half had expired and we were left with two alternatives: milk and sweetened condensed milk. Since the kids typically put sugar on their cereal too, I figured I'd just let them use the sweetened condsensed milk watered down with a little regular milk.

A little can of the stuff goes a long way. So today with my coffee I decided to use it instead, remembering it being used in books such as The All-of-a-King Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. So I splooped a little bit in and tossed in a splash of milk for good measure. I took a tentative sip and found myself once again in Bob's Prefect, listening to him tell me about his previous career working for Hanna Barbera Australia. I have found the perfect cup of coffee at long last.

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