December Newsletter 2016

Posted by on Dec 6, 2016 in Newsletter | 0 comments

Ball and Chain

While walking back from the gym the other day, I was inspired by the colors of the trees, the low light and the feeling of the late autumn dusk. I began to think about the season-and of course the food I wanted to cook. I was interrupted by another coffee pitch on my music service (I am too cheap to pay for the commercial-free service). It was about everyone’s favorite pumpkin spiced this or that and other contrived flavors to make you feel in the season. I generally let these sorts of things pass me by until the next song comes on. However, the next song was “Ball and Chain,” released in 1990 by Social Distortion, an American punk band from Southern California. I have a certain base playlist deeply rooted in late ’70s British punk. The line that got me thinking was “There’s got to be another way…take away this ball and chain.” It started me thinking about what my ball and chain is. I know what these coffee flavorists and marketing companies have as theirs-trends and consumer information that pumpkin spiced lattes are America’s favorite and we all need to run out and pay $5 for one right now. Their ball and chain is flavor trends and market research, not necessarily quality. They believe because it sells everyone likes it and we all need to like it. We all know what opinion polls can be like!

We all have things that hold us back and keep us in a certain safety zone that we can get stuck in; we don’t want to believe that there are other great things to taste. I have in the past called this the “vanilla” effect. In cooking, it can be learned tasting experiences that are both positive as well as negative, keeping us in this safety zone (or more like “behind bars”). We all have things that we like and don’t like to eat. This learned experience is a ball and chain. I have a hard time eating some things like sea urchin and clams on the half shell, as these walls came from bad experiences and stopped me from exploring these tastes. It was the same with raw oysters for years, but knowing that so many people like them, I had to taste them again to see what all the fuss was about. I put my dislikes away and tasted to understand. I remember culinary students who refused to taste things because they don’t like them. How are you able to cook for your guests if you don’t know what food is supposed to taste like? Still, to this day, I see this obstacle affecting our cooking and purchasing habits. There must be another way to expose yourself to new tastes. This cutting of the chain will allow you and those around your table to get outside of that comfort zone and live a little more through amazing food experiences.

December Newsletter

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