I remember I had a sort of foodie aha! moment as a kid, the first time I was playing around with a rind of orange. I twisted it and it squirted out this sour-bitter yet wonderfully fragrant oil at me. I didn’t know about orange zest then but I do remember wondering whether it had any uses. Along similar lines, I’ve since wondered about many things… foodwise (I use that term loosely, after all one man’s idea of food is another man’s recurring nightmare)
So who was it who first…
…looked at a snail and thought, “Mmmm, that looks like good eats!”
…looked at the truffles pigs dug out and ate and thought, “Well, if it’s good enough for the pig….”
…had the guts to try tomatoes again for the first time after they had been declared poisonous.
…thought that burning his food would make it more edible.
…thought that the inside of a yam would be good to eat (despite the itchy, outer skin).
…got double-dog dared into trying durian for the first time (this one I really wonder about since chefs have likened the smell to soiled diapers)
…had such a dearth of food that he kept working with an artichoke until he found a part of it that he could eat.
…ate a blowfish without knowing the Russian roulette that eating the fish involved….and lived to tell the tale.
…had the guts to try armadillo or snake OR cockroaches (my personal nightmare!)
…looked at flour and thought, “Hmm, I’m sure if I mixed that with water and live organisms, I’d be onto something!”
…thought that mixing raw egg yolks, oil and lemon juice would result in something delicious.
…decided to take a chance on the underground stem of the potato when it became apparent that the rest of it was obviously poisonous.
…decided that vanllla was ‘plain’ despite the fact “this rare pod grows on an orchid that can only be pollinated one day a year, the seeds of which can germinate only in the presence of a certain fungus and which contains tons of flavors and aroma bases” (adapted from Alton Brown’s Good Eats feature on Vanilla)
…were the test subjects for mushroom varieties (“oh this one kills people…bad! This one only makes him lose his eyebrows…good!)
…was so starved that he decided friends are food.
…let his grapes go so bad that they fermented and then was desperate enough to press the undesirable looking leftovers and drink the results.
Some of these I have filed under the label of ‘when desperate, man will eat anything to survive.’ Others, like with durian, I’ve come to realize are a personal preference. Some people love durian, other loathe it. Some questions have been answered by what I think is one of the most brilliant food shows ever, Alton Brown’s Good Eats. But I don’t think he will tackle the less mainstream question, like blowfish…or crocodile..thank god! Regarding the wine wonderment, I’m not necessarily its biggest fan, picky as I am about the kinds I like. The ones I like turn out to be the sweet kinds more often than not, like this moscato…
..which we poured over these casaba melons we bought at the local Safeway.
Casaba melons aren’t as fragrant or sweet as some other varieties. So we halved the melon, scraped out the seeds and then cut its succulent insides into chunks. These we bunged into the fridge for cooling a bit, then we tossed the pieces with some sugar, mint and a teensy bit of Limoncello to help develop the flavour.
The moscato, which was fruity and seriously sweet, paired very well, with the melon. The pieces of fruit just sopped up all the wine and then transferred some of their melony goodness to it to transform the wine into a divine sweet nectar, making for a decadent dessert.
This was seriously good enough for me to think “Who needs ice-cream or brownies when you can have melons in moscato?” A question asked in vain, I know. Life would be so unbearable without ice-cream. Note to self: Try melons in a sweet wine ice-cream!