[CH] Re: Sensory Remapping

Edmiston (edmiston@wardpress.com)
Fri, 15 May 1998 15:42:41 +0000

J. B. Cattley wrote:

> Anyone else out there cook by shape? In other words, when the curry
> sticks out equally in all directions, it's
> done. This is, I have just realised, why I don't much care for Thai:
> the
> lemongrass just doesn't interlock with the other flavours, but sort of
> rides
> over the top.
> I am not synaesthetic, as it doesn't boil down to an actual concrete
> sensation, it just seems to be a convenient sensory algebra, IYSWIM.
> Anyone else out there not thinking 'Complete loony'?

Oh I might be thinking that, but not because of the way you blend
flavours. (;

I season by a "musical" metaphor. I suppose it's not really that odd to
say that flavours have notes, we've been saying that of wine for years.
So by extension it doesn't seem odd to me to mutter while cooking,
"Needs more reverb (which might be Calvin's Extra-Hot)," or "Too shrill,
needs some base to round it out (which, for example, last time I made
pasta sauce with arugula and basil (and habs and Calvin's Original, of
course) turned out to be dry vermouth)."

OTOH, since I am relearning how to cook after many yrs of not having a
kitchen, could just be my mind pretending to be that of a "savvy,
grown-up, sophisticated" chef where a better-adjusted individual might
have just said, "Needs vermouth."

However, even if I don't verbalize my tastings, I do use some sort of a
mental musical model to evaluate how I'm doing. Not so much "everything
sticking out equally" so much as highs being where they ought to be,
lows being where they ought to be, pizzicato notes contrasting against
sweeping strings, etc. I know this sounds pretentious but it's not
really a conscious choice of metaphors, just the one my brain seems to
want to use once the spoon hits my tastebuds.

I don't like Thai either, but that's because I'm more the lush-melodic
and/or funk type (Beethoven, Soundgarden, Public Enemy, Afro Cuban
All-Stars (check 'em out)) than the... erm... Thai music type. Come to
think of it, when it comes to spicy food, I like Hispanic music, like
Hispanic food, like Indian music, like Indian food, like Italian music,
like Italian food, don't like really any East Asian (Chinese, Japanese,
Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, Laotian) music or food. Hmm, I smell/hear a
thread coming on...