What is it about flavours that makes one person smack his lips in anticipation of digging into a dish, while another person can hardly be persuaded to try even a little bite? I don’t know what influenced you, but just about every pleasant memory I have of family, will have attached to it a smell or a flavour in my mind. Picking up cider apples in an ancient orchard on our farm with my sisters Marsha and Jeannie, and my brother Keith, to earn enough money to buy ourselves a small used stereo is a memory redolent with the scent of the giant Wolf Apple, the size of a grapefruit, that my father snapped in two with a simple twist of the wrist that day. Memories of sumptuous meals at harvest time are accompanied by the aroma of fresh ripe red tomatoes, and sweet corn with its taffy –like smell, steaming hot from the blue enamel canner. Picnics with family and friends at tables in Springbank Park in London, will always conjure up the taste of cold fried chicken, juicy watermelon, and lemonade. The many bonfires we had in our own back yard over the years are remembered not only by the smell of smoke in my mind’s eye, (or perhaps I should say mind’s nose) but by the smell of sizzling hot dogs nearly blackened on their wire coat-hanger sticks.
Yesterday I sat beside my two-year old nephew Jacob at supper time as he tried a bite of Caesar salad for the first time. It was quite funny, because romaine lettuce coated in Caesar dressing tends to stick to the tongue a bit, and after his Mom put a piece in his mouth, off the end of her fork, he attempted to spit it out. It stayed there, stuck on the end of his tongue, like a moistened postage stamp as he attempted to get it out of his mouth with “Bleck! Bleck!”as a sound effect, and “Yukky!” as a comment afterwards . Sure he hated it on his initial try, but because he was with people who loved him, and he was enjoying the time at the table, you can bet that he will try it again another time. By then the pleasant feelings of family and fun will alter it′s flavour somehow.
How else do people learn to eat things like Quadrello di Bufala, an Italian buffalo milk cheese, which is described by one food critic as “very barnyard-y, you can taste the wet straw, a bit of stink and sweetness at the same time.” Yum! Or how about a nice big bowl full of fermented salmon heads, a traditional Alaskan delight. After the heads are chopped off they are buried in the ground for a few weeks or more, until they begin to rot. Then they are dug up, mashed to a pudding like consistency and served up cold like soft serve ice cream. (For people who don`t have such a sweet tooth, apparently.)
In honour of the five little great-nephews I now have— A beautiful new one named Brayden just arrived on Sunday morning to join future playmates, Finley, Joshua, Jacob, and Ethan— I am including a couple of poems about kids’ taste preferences I wrote earlier. Happy Tasting!
I like the spurt of lemon juice!
So sour in my mouth;
It pinches all its corners in—
Its North, East, West and South
Into one tremendous pucker—
One big jaw-ache of delight!
A kind of painful, pleasing,
I like the kind of saltinessness
That movie popcorn brings—
The kind that makes a desert rat
Go searching out the springs,
The pretzel and the peanut type
That makes me want to drink—
Until another ocean
Is inside of me, I think!
I like the syrup sweetness
Of a Sunday pancake brunch—
The lick your fingers sweetness
Of a jelly sandwich lunch,
The “Don’t forget to brush your teeth
And wash your face off!” sweet,
The taste of almost anything
My grandma brings me treat!
I like the kind of flavours
That are opposite each other.
The trouble is, I can’t convince
My menu-planning mother!
by Yvonne Rollason
The Izzly Fizzlies
His Mom and Dad were fast asleep, and snoring like two grizzlies,
When suddenly he felt them there— those craving izzly fizzlies!
One eye woke up and looked around, and then it woke the other;
It told his brain to wake his ears, and listen for his mother.
He didn’t hear a clatter or a sizzle from the kitchen,
But those crazy izzly fizzlies had made his tongue start itchin’
As if a thousand chickens had a barn dance in his mouth,
Or some geese had held a cookout there before they headed south,
And thrown some dirt up
on their fire before they winged away!
That’s how the izzley fizzlies had made him feel today!
Just then his brain woke up his feet and said “Now! Get in motion!
’Cause theses cravin’ izzly fizzlies are itchin’ for an ocean
To wash its surf across this tongue— it’s driving me near crazy!
Now march us to the kitchen! You guys can be so lazy!”
So off he went, straight to the fridge and opened up the door.
He took out every can of pop and sat them on the floor.
He opened up a cola and he drank it down real quick,
And then he tried the ginger ale he liked when he was sick.
Then he had a taste of orange, some grape and then some red.
When Mom and Dad heard all the noise, they got up from their bed.
“What do you think you’re doing son?” his flustered father said
“And why would you open all that pop? Just what was in your head?”
“It was the izzly fizzlies Dad, that woke me up today!
I tried to drink a lot of pop to make them go away.
I think that they are gone now, but the only trouble is
Now I’ve got the hurtin’ burps because of all the fizz!”
by Yvonne Rollason
Here’s wishing you a wonderfully sweet day!