These prehistoric-looking bumpy bits of fruit have a lovely sharp scent when they are pricked with a fork and I thought they would be the sort of elegant and fragrant decorative touch that Ms Stewart would well approve of--rather like orange and clove pomander balls without the bleeding thumbs that come with studding the oranges with dried cloves. So i wandered past crabs in bondage, helplessly twitching their shackled claws, and enough pig organs to build a Frankenstein's porcine monster and piles of fish that were still so fresh that they emitted no odor at all until at last I came upon the object of my quest.
I happily sniffed my way back home, poking limes with my fingernail and holding them to my nostrils as I stood on the subway. I proudly showed them to the guys I live with, and made them enjoy the fragrance before I made little lime still-life arrangements in my bedroom and our office.
It wasn't until much later that Rod said, "When I smell those little limes, I think of the restrooms in clubs. They're cut up and put in the urinals there to keep the odor down." Suddenly I understood why none of my housemates were as enthusiastic about my latest home decor effort as I was, and felt a stab of relief that I wasn't one of the gender who associates the smell of kaffir limes with that of urine.
The woman who sold me the limes told me she uses them to wash her hair and I had thought the juice would make a nice final rinse with its fragrance lingering after my shampoo. But since I know every man who walked past me would immediately think of public urinals, I'm not so eager to try that particular beauty tip--and I now know why some of my male friends surgically remove every kaffir lime leaf that appears in their servings of green curry.