Monday 18 August 2014

Food Smells

Cooking can and should release intoxicating smells. Cooking can and often does release toxic smells. It is all part of the process and whether you like the smells that come from any particular kitchen will often depend on the smells that emanated from the kitchen when you were growing up.

I know pretty much how a family eats the moment I walk in the door. The smells aren’t bad by any means, but they are different. When I was growing up, Canada was pretty much Anglo Saxon and the foods we ate reflected our ancestral backgrounds. I could tell if a friend was having fish, cabbage or (God forbid) liver and I wouldn’t judge them for it, but I would pity them. They actually thought that what they were eating was delicious. If you start to indoctrinate people young enough, it’s possible to convince them of anything. Even the “ethnic” foods we ate were just anglicised, watered down versions of the real thing. Our Chinese food would be completely unrecognizable in China. I was good with that.

Today, everything has changed. There has been an influx of different peoples over the past forty years and they have brought their own unique customs and foods with them. People will go to exotic restaurants to eat exotic foods which will inevitably wreck havoc with their small and large intestines. Yes, I know, the bulk of the population just loves the variety and relishes the different tastes. I myself have even been to some of these establishments from time to time. Not my idea, but I ventured into the unknown for an evening or two. Once I was taken to an Ethiopian restaurant, I suspect part of the enjoyment was to see my face when confronted with the different dishes. Well, there really was only one dish, it consisted of several large pieces of flat bread and dabs of different coloured paste which was squirted around one large communal round of bread. One or two of the squirts of paste were actually quite palatable, but unfortunately with the poor lighting and my failing memory, I couldn’t remember which were the tasty squirts and which were nearly poisonous.

Anyways, all foods smell, some stink. English food has little smell or taste which is just how I like it. I am often the cook now that I am retired and Louise tolerates my cooking. Often, the smell of the foods that you are preparing will stick to your clothing, and your hands. Onions and garlic are particularly long lasting smells on the hands. I don’t mind, it is kind of like a badge of honour. Tonight I was cutting up an onion to add a little flavour to our meal, which although not my idea initially, can and does make things taste a little better. Onions being roundish have the habit of rolling around the cutting board if you don’t keep a watchful eye on them. This particular onion waited until the papery covering was removed and the ends cut off before it decided to roll off the board. Having a very sharp knife in my catching hand, I instinctively knew not to use it, but I trapped the onion against the cupboard with my crotch.

Normally I don’t use my crotch for much of anything, but it did come in handy tonight. I saved the onion from hitting the ground and picking up stray dog hairs and tiny crumbs that even the dog wouldn’t eat. I did get onion juice on my crotch though. I can just imagine that when Louise comes in the door, she will say “Do I smell onions?”

“Not unless you plan on touching your toes.”

I will smell onions all night long, and even if I change my pants, the smell will linger if not actually, it will linger on in my mind. Every time I put on these pants I’ll smell onions and everyone I know will be wondering where that onion smell is coming from…

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