Thursday, September 10, 2009

Time Waits for No Taste

Or, maybe it does.

While I was eating some cashews shortly after a meal today, I noticed that they tasted differently (outside of the usual allowance for variation in the taste of such nuts). The reason, I quickly realized, was that I usually have cashews as a snack, well interspersed between meals. Today, however, I had them right after something else. The lingering of the previous taste in my buds created a new taste when the cashews were introduced, cashews + a small % of other.

This gave rise to the following thought:

The order in which one eats any two things, and the time interval between their consumption, could be defined as a category of cooking with non-zero temporal separation between the constituent ingredients.

In standard cooking, dishes are assembled and rely mostly on the aesthetic that grows from simultaneous consumption (ingredients have been cooked together to create one overall taste). Sure, there may be side dishes, and a specific order to the courses of the meal – but usually there's no specification as to how long one ought to wait in between tastes.

The earlier thought suggests the possibility of a whole new culinary art which relies on precisely measured time intervals between the consumption of "ingredients" (dishes).

So, for instance, eat X, then wait 2 minutes and 10 seconds, then consume Y, and so on and so forth. The exact combinations of tastes thus created, I imagine, can only be achieved in this way (varying quantities won't work, since the ratios of saliva etc. would be affected).

I leave it to some brave chef to figure out the specifics and put all this into action!

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