Thursday, August 16, 2007

Notes from the Pantry: Flavor!

Oh blessed Epicurus, my ability to taste has returned! I know it's silly, but whenever I'm sick, there's a part of me that genuinely fears that, just maybe, I will never taste again. Who knows, it could always be some new neurodegenerative disease. Right?
Hypochondria and delusions aside, I am overjoyed to be able to appreciate more than texture and calories again. Hallelujah!

+Mom and I adventured about Chinatown, picking up fun kitchen toys at the now-famous Wok Shop (thanks to an article Saveur ran last November). I also found one of my Quest Locations (Golden Gate Bakery, home of SF's best egg custard tart). But alas! They're on vacation till September 1st. Oh well, absence makes the heart (stomach?) grow fonder...

+I decided to make the kid's last summer science lesson "fun," so I put together a workshop on the science of flavor. After a chat about the sensory system, psychology of perception, and cultural culinary traditions, I set them loose on a "flavor lab." We played with everything from measuring taste bud density to the effect of temperature on complexity of cheese flavor to sampling "unusual" flavor combinations from varied cultures (rose-saffon ice cream, spicy dark chocolate, and crema de abacate). The kids were extremely positive about the assignment, and several expressed complete surprise at what they enjoyed. The girl who claimed not to like spicy foods begged for extra pieces of the capsaicin chocolate sample. Even the rose-saffron ice cream had a following. Hurrah!

+I'm this close to splurging on one of these: i-Roast2

+I'm going to help cook for the Ferry Plaza Sunday Supper! Of course, I won't be doing anything glamorous -- probably washing bowls and peeling onions. However, there's a neat lineup of chefs preparing the meal, and I'm excited to be a part of the kerfuffle.

+Tomorrow, I'm meeting a friend for dinner at Range. Their online sample menu makes me salivate -- so my hopes are high.

Okay, I have a real job and I need to be rested for it. Till next time,

Monica

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