Log in

No account? Create an account


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
12:44 pm: The girl who cried wolf
Ah, humans, humans, humans. We jolly sailors on the mammal boat are many things on many levels, some sublime and some absurd, but it can't be denied that on at least one very basic level we are fundamentally beautiful, intricate machines for turning food into shit. In this frequent thought I am aided by the cat, who provides ample public demonstration of the general principle to an audience of two at 8pm every day. Darn it, I find myself thinking, there must be more to this eating lark. Perhaps this is why some people do it for profit, and some people claim to go without. But I was thinking of a subtler effect -- of cloves and cinnamon bark, cardamom pods and peppercorns.

When I eat these spices, I can smell them on my skin the next day -- no matter how I might have washed, no matter how thoroughly -- as surely as if I had been marinated throughout, my blood and bones and flesh all full of them. I find this rather lovely. I am fond of skin, and the smell of spices makes me think of old maps and distant islands and routes charted in brown ink. It occurs to me that if I were organised -- and, to be fair, didn't mind a certain amount of monotony in my meals -- I could smell like this frequently, and that would bring me pleasure. And then it occurs to me also that this is a romantic way of saying that I'm thinking of playing with the composition of my sweat, but that's the plainer truth of it. Spices are only the nicer end in this world: it turns out that many things can alter the way you smell. Garlic, of course. Chilli. Yoghurt. Blue cheese. It's like putting a truffle in a box of eggs to make the eggs taste of it, I guess -- strong odours and tastes get everywhere. And of course tales of what happens to the savour of food when distilled through the human body are quite familiar; provided you're talking about semen, that is. So I guess really you can alter the taste of everything; the taste of tears, perhaps; alter the taste of your flesh itself like a corn-fed chicken for cannibals. They say that the amniotic fluid starts you off on the flavours you'll like for life, reflecting in miniature the things your mother is eating. And no doubt breast milk does as well -- there are any number of adults you could ask on the subject. Tangentially, I cannot think of consuming unusual milks -- badger milk, gerbil milk, whale milk and the like -- without wondering whether anyone has ever made cheese from them. But despite the speculation, it's actually impossible to make cheese from human milk -- but that's a whole other wrong place from the place this post was going.

Why was I thinking about this? It all stems from a particular combination of foodstuffs. I'm more a fan of mushy, one-pot meals than Chris is, see. So that's the sort of meal that I frequently make when he's away or singing for the evening, and I fill it with tastes that I'm fond of: chilli, lots of garlic, onions, lentils, okra and the like. Sometimes I'll cook the garlic and onions in ghee first, if we have some. There's just one problem. In making these frankly rather yummy, strong-tasting dishes, I have accidentally stumbled across a secret formula sought across the ages by a curious mankind. Forget the fabled French Fartistes of yore -- Le Pétomane be damned -- after a big bowl of garlic-and-lentil thing I can, should I so desire, fart for England. Fear not! -- I have resolved to use my powers in the service of Good. Which means in this case not farting for England unless there's absolutely definitely nobody else around.

So there was this one morning, just before NAM when I'd come into work extra-early to make sure of attending the opening talks, when the rest of the offices were deserted and the gentle twittering of the dawn chorus had scarcely left the roseate sky of dawn -- early this one morning and entirely alone, I should mention, and happening to have supped upon the fabled garlic-and-lentil thing the night before -- it is possible that I may have indulged in a little harmonious communion with nature in its more earthy form.

Pause. Then I might possibly have heard the sound of doors, because suddenly the departmental administrator has decided to use our building as a corridor to get important stuff from one conference area to another. Further pause. He came back past. Further pause. He came back past, looked in, and enquired as to whether the drains were backing up. I replied in a rather embarrassed negative.

So, nobody came to look at the drains. And time passed. It appears that these exact same drains are now backing up, and the grad student office is now without a non-noxiously openable window and boiling in its own sweat. Have I accidentally used my powers for evil? I guess I will never know.


[User Picture]
Date:June 8th, 2006 12:23 pm (UTC)
the smell of spices makes me think of old maps and distant islands and routes charted in brown ink.

Have you ever walked around Shad Thames in the shadow of Tower Bridge? The buildings, now converted to yuppie flats, used to be dock storage warehouses. Parts of the street still smell of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.

Or did in 1996. I can't imagine the smell has faded yet.
[User Picture]
Date:June 8th, 2006 12:38 pm (UTC)
I think I read years ago that whale milk is around 4 times as fatty as cow milk. Which mean that if it's possible, it would probably be a very tasty cheese.

I guess harvesting the milk might be difficult.
[User Picture]
Date:June 8th, 2006 01:07 pm (UTC)
I've heard that whale milk is very fishy-tasting and not at all pleasant to drink, though.
...which means that someone, somewhere must have tried it. Somehow. Ye gods.
Date:June 8th, 2006 01:03 pm (UTC)
can, should I so desire, fart for England

I think we need to get Chris there with his recording equipment for auditory proof :)
[User Picture]
Date:June 9th, 2006 09:48 am (UTC)
I guess lots of young men will be farting (or burping) for England in the next three or four weeks.
Date:June 8th, 2006 08:22 pm (UTC)
Bugger. There goes the life plan that reads become vegan, accidentally get pregnant, have kid, make breast milk into cheese and be able to eat cheese in good conscience.
[User Picture]
Date:June 8th, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
Badger's milk cheese? I think you may have hit on the trendy foodstuf of the 2010's...

"Amoeba cries out in the night..." [sorry - just popped into my head like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man]
Powered by LiveJournal.com