Monday, June 14, 2004

Guilty Pleasures

My feet hurt, I walk along the cobblestone paving toward my home wondering why people would lay this stuff where women would walk along in heels. I see a gold-coloured light on in the upper window and immediately feel relief – I’m home and there’s someone else there to jabber to whilst I pry my shoes off my feet.

I ascend the stairs and start a sentence of greeting…

…suddenly, I’m accosted by M, wild eyed and proffering a rather pungent cracker.

“Quick, eat this!”
I look down and spy several sections of raw garlic hovering on an odour cushion all of their own over a slice of cheese and a cracker.

Alright, let’s pause for a second. What would this mean in any other household? The one thing that comes to mind is vampires, a whole gaggle of the befanged ones, making themselves comfy in the lounge room.

One might expect M to follow up by handing me a stake, some holy water and somehow convincing me to wear a cross around my neck (This hasn’t happened since I was a little girl and didn’t know any better than to wear a stylised torture implement around my neck at the bidding of the local shaman).

So what the hell is actually going on?

In reality, it’s a small ritual we have if anyone else in the house decides to go a little crazy on the garlic – everyone else must have a dose so that they don’t wind up gagging on the ensuing aroma.

This little recollection got me thinking about food.

The foods we eat as humans really do amaze me. M and I have a rule travelling – we find the weirdest things on the menu in any culture and order a helping. Over time, I have eaten things that almost defy description and acquired tastes for other things that are nigh on impossible to get at home. (OK, ‘home’ now means England – so double the impossibility of anything tasty.)

People are often so emotional about what they will eat. They will hack gleefully into the seared ass of a cow but think that eating dog is barbaric. Why is eating a cat so very bad? Much as I adore the animals, (if you want to see me go completely ga-ga, stick a cat in front of me, not a child) they’re still as much animals as goats, sheep, cows and pigs. In fact, I’ve heard that pigs are quite intelligent – so why no societal problems with chewing on bacon?

I’m not a vegetarian, folks, not trying to get anyone to eat LESS meat. I just wonder why we put up these arbitrary lines at what’s edible and what’s a no-go zone. Why not eat MORE of a variety of different animals?

Plants have strange reputations too. Why are brussels sprouts such a loathed food when they’re so much tastier than potato? Why don’t people realise that apple-flavoured anything pales in comparison to a crisp, cool apple?

Whilst I’m waffling on about food, why is it that with cheese, the more the specimen smells like the glands of a week-old skunk corpse, the mellower and more satisfying the flavour of the thing?

I always thought that taste and smell were inextricably linked yet this week, my housemates have shrunk away from the kitchen every time I opened the container of Pié, standing back and sputtering:

“You’re not going to eat that are you?”
Why yes, I was planning to, you uncouth sods.

So is there anything that turns the stomach of someone who will eat almost anything?

Ohhhhhhh, yes.


You can chase me around the kitchen most effectively with a bowlful of the stuff – as M has proven time and time again.


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