Black Rock Dessert


by Gary Dempster

I am sharing this because it seems to provoke wonderful longing and mystery for all who hear it. So hear it is:

Sunday. Day after the burn. Late afternoon. 4 of us are walking down “Infant Street” around 9 o’clock, when suddenly, some folks come up to us offering ” black rock dessert.” High as we are, we are somewhat skeptical of stopping to sample and ingest this strange, black bowl of substance unknown. The kind folks are quite enthusiastic and insistent, however, and our curiosity gets the best of us, as we turn around to check it out.

The story (I will leave it to the reader to decipher fact from fiction) as told to us:

“For the last 4 or 5 years, we have been collecting burnt desert from the ground where the man burns. The gypsum gets so hot under the man that it ‘crystallizes’ and forms into gypsum sugar. We finally have enough to make a “dessert,” so here! You can eat the desert! It tastes really great!”

Naturally, I paraphrase, but its something to that effect. The “dessert” was black, crystalline, and looked something like ground-up oreo cookies or brownie mix. We took our first bite………

No kidding – this is the BEST dessert I have EVER eaten…normally, I don’t even eat dessert. It is delightfully sweet without being “sugary.” Perfect tactile texture, crunchy but not hard. Easy to swallow, and demanding to be partaken of. We took several mouthfuls, and then turn to leave. The entire afternoon and evening, I am filled with regret at 1. not having eaten more, and 2. not getting their names!!!!!!! Fantastic.

Truth or fiction? I’ll let you decide…

About the author: Tales From The Playa

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.

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