Saturday, January 26, 2013

Past Deadline: What Flavour is Grey?

Here is this week’s Past Deadline, published in The Perth Courier on Jan. 24/13.
What flavour is grey?
My palate has not grown up. Or maybe it has. I dunno, but you can bet I am going to try to work it all out in this here space!
I’ve said before that I’ll eat anything as long as someone else cooks it. There are some limits to this – I mean, I won’t eat spoiled stuff or food that sets my mouth on fire and such, but I get a little thrill when someone other than me prepares a meal and takes away the dishes. Oh, yeah.
It makes me less picky. I mean, we’re talking about someone who, while in the hospital having her babies, thought the fare was just fine. Heck, someone brought me food three times a day and cleaned up afterwards. It was great!
I hadn’t really thought much about the refinement of my palate, but I was recently at a business-type event with about 300 people. It featured a buffet dinner in a large hall. There was quite a selection of food – from appetizers and salads to a variety of main courses.
I tried a little bit of almost everything and, really, there wasn’t anything I didn’t like. I shovelled it in gratefully because someone else made it, someone else cleared the plates and – even better – I didn’t have to pay for it or have a baby to get it.
The only thing that occurred to me as I ate was that it was nice to have some different veggies other than the usual assortment I stick to at home to please all the tender little palates there.
After the main course and before the dessert, there was chitchat at our table about the meal. One wasn’t crazy about the veggies, another found the food wasn’t hot enough, some gave it a tepid review.
I paused. I was content. Why was I content? What is wrong with me? Was the food warm enough? Were the veggies actually odd?
I just couldn’t think of anything in particular to say about the meal. I found it…fine!
It was time for the dessert table, which featured an array of fresh fruit, squares, tarts, cakes slices and tiramisu-type thingies.
I selected some fruit and checked out the cake slices. They were layered and looked very light – more like mousse. Some appeared to have chocolate layers, but I chose something with a greenish tint, thinking there might be some lime flavouring.
I got back to the table and everyone was chatting as we ate. As I tucked into the cake I noticed that, in the lighting at the table, it looked as if the layers were more greyish than greenish. Interesting.
Others noticed, too. “What flavour is that?” someone asked.
I chewed thoughtfully. I had no idea. It was light and sweet. I could taste a tiny hint of vanilla, but other than that it was just light and sweet.
“I honestly don’t know,” I said.
A few people seemed wary of the girl munching on the grey cake. To put everyone at ease, I assured them it didn’t taste moldy or bad in any way. We agreed it was probably just food colouring and moved on with our lives.
So, yeah. I eat grey cake and don’t give it much thought. Apparently I’ll eat what’s on my plate – warm or cold, strange or not – as long as someone else makes it.
Besides, when it’s a free, buffet-style meal for hundreds of people, how picky can you get?
Maybe my palate could use some refining, but possibly I’m also good at adjusting my expectation level. That could, for example, explain why the hospital food was a hit.
Or maybe I just need to get out more….

No comments: