Thursday, January 12, 2006

Taste buddies

I had a rather coarse palate. If certain web sites are to be believed, then my being Arien had something to do with it. Generally for me, food to be appreciated must have a strong dominant taste. And for food to be fully appreciated, that dominant taste must be spice. Because I am an Arien (according to the website) and because I am Indian (own observation), what I mean by spicy is the chilly type of spicy. Not the genteel, well-bred, Eton-educated spicy of thyme, basil, paprika, etc. So, spicy was only something that came garbed in red-hot parched skin and seared tongue, smoked ears, moistened orbs and got the nose to run. To me, then and only then, did food have any taste.

Then I had typhoid and had to be off spicy food for an eternity. In that time, I must have eaten through three fields of wheat in the forms of rusks, bread – white, brown, and wheatish (funny), and chapattis. There were also boiled pulses or vegetables or chicken or very lightly flavored steamed fish. For the first week, everything tasted like a soggy newspaper. But then slowly, my palate decided to stop sulking and befriend the other tastes. Now it knew the zestiness of lemongrass, the sharp pinpricks of explosion of ginger, the smooth, fleshy nothingness of mushrooms, the delicate hint of sweetness of softened onions. It was good. My taste buds were getting meditative. My palate was getting used to silence. Inside my mouth, a sort of spiritual awakening was taking place where thrills were not sought in the obvious, but pleasure was attained in the affable. Peace.

It was only a matter of time that news of such compelling cleansing reached my brain. So, this is what my brain has decided for the year, 2006 – it shall be bland. It shall not get excited over the promise of prospects, or plunge into despondency when prospects dim. It shall be insipid and simply be led through incidents in a sort of wizened stupor. It shall not look for meaning or create drama or wait for effusive applause.

Then, slowly, perhaps by 2007, it shall understand the nuances of quiet living. It will smile contentedly when it goes through pages of my diary where nothing happened. Nothing more remarkable than watching a wet crow dry itself. Then perhaps, my mind that is so used to robust spouts of meaning will appreciate the mellow muteness of routine. My brain, like my palate, will evolve.

My palate that is already ambling along the path to sophistication, though, has found an excellent companion. It’s the new flavor of Bacardi Breezer, Turkish Melon. And like most things wonderful, I tasted it at Mocha. I took a sip, and, well..I don’t really know. It did to my mouth what Byron did to my notions of love. It elevated the obvious and made it sublime.

The drink is refreshing. When you pour it in a wine glass, you notice it’s mossy, pastoral hue. You imagine the drink to be fragrant. But when you taste it, it’s so unexpectedly wonderful – like the sighting of monsoon cloud in an extended, grisly summer.

My life now waits to follow suit.


Shruthi said...

Great! Cool post ;) Enjoy the subtleties of life and thus, the journey! :)

I have always been accused of finding taste and flavour when none exist - but I can't help it, can I? Even the consistency or texture of the food sends me into raptures! Well, that's coz I am a die-hard foodie ;)

anumita said...

Can't believe you are eating anything without the omnipotent chillies in your life!!! Three cheers to that! By the way, why does the arien is my house start crying even if he smells a hint of spice (read paprika, thyme or any type of chilli) on others' plates too???

tablemannered said...

lovely... as ever

Anonymous said...

beautifully written ...


Pradeep said...

Coming here after a long hiatus. I had to give up spicy food cos of this freakin typhoid and could never get back to it. Gotta try the Bacardi drink.