Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Early Suppers and Taste-Blindness...More MFK Fisher.
I am still reeling from almost a week of visiting relatives. The day to day feeding of these two people, both in their middle 70's nearly killed me. I take a few things for granted regarding my strengths and weaknesses. One of my strengths being my ability to create menus and prepare meals. For the last week,I have been unable to reconcile the fact that the people I was preparing food for were as described by MFK Fisher for all intents and purposes 'Taste-Blind'.
"Almost all people are born unconscious of the nuances of flavour. Many die so. Some of these unfortunates are physically deformed,and remain all their lives as truly taste-blind as their brother sufferers are blind to colour. Others never taste because they are stupid,or more often,because they have never been taught to search for differentiations of flavour."< em> MFK Fisher
I cooked this roast lamb the night before my guests arrived, anticipating re-heating it, or serving it cold for sandwiches the following day. I marinated the lamb in garlic,Dijon mustard,and chopped Rosemary freshly snipped from the pot on my patio. It slowly roasted for a few hours, surrounded by golden new potatoes, and 2 whole heads of garlic. I was very pleased I managed neither to overcook the lamb or the potatoes.
The day after my guests arrived I asked if we should have the lamb and potatoes for dinner. I was told that they usually ate a late breakfast,little or no lunch, and did not like to eat a large dinner...preferring to go to a chain restaurant that served very good borscht soup with garlic toast, or yummy potato skins...with a large slice of pie for dessert. If we didn't want to go out...their favorite 'meal' served between 4:30 and 5 pm in the afternoon would consist of some sort of chips and dip, and maybe some cheese,or pickles...with maybe some cake or pie. After the original shock, I realized that what MFK Fisher had written in 1937 in "Serve it Forth" was true:
"What is more tedious for us than an early supper? It thrusts itself into the gathering speed of a days life like a stick into the spokes of a turning wheel. It forces a pause,a stop,which acts as a kind of disequilibrium to the fine balance of the remaining hours of consciousness." MFK Fisher
My guests left yesterday morning. After another breakfast at the aforementioned chain restaurant complete with overcooked rubbery eggs,a doughy pancake the size of a hubcap,topped with maple 'flavoured' pancake syrup, and watery all you can drink coffee the P-Man and I staggered home almost giddy with relief, and spent the rest of the morning lounging on the patio reading. At almost 2 pm, we washed and dressed and wandered down to the beach for a luxurious long lunch complete with a chilled bottle of white wine,a seafood salad for me,and pan-fried oysters for the P-Man. We treated ourselves to another glass of wine and chatted with the owners while they ate their midday meal. After more wine the four of us shared a freshly baked pastry filled with almond cream and drizzled with rich dark chocolate. It was going on 6 by the time we slowly made our way back up the hill to our now blissfully quiet apartment. There was no need for supper, just a nice nap in the setting sun, and a good cup of coffee to end the evening.
"I too dine late by preference,and I too like my room clear and beautiful,and above all, my guests very few and even more selected." MFK Fisher
Amen Mary Francis...Amen to that!