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Thursday, September 20, 2012

You Don't Mind If I Take a Tiny Taste, Do You?


I’m a simple person.
Well, no.  That’s not exactly true, but what I’m about to divulge may have you shaking your head and muttering, “That Pearl.  I didn’t realize she was so simple.”
I just wanted to beat ya to the punch.
Do you remember your first encounter with cilantro?  I do.  There it was, adrift in a bowl of pico de gallo.  “Hullo,” I said to myself, having briefly picked up a “British” accent by way of a Neil Gaiman book I had been reading, “what’s this?”
And there it was, the taste that, like cumin and buffalo sauce before it, added a previously unknown depth of flavor to my taste-budly world.  Much like the first Metallica album or the stark realization that I cannot wear a “skinny” jean without my lower extremities looking like denim-encased turkey legs, the first taste of cilantro blew the lid off my little coarsely-haired head.
My mother wrinkles her nose in distaste.  “Tastes like soap,” she says.
Look at her over there, all refined and ladylike, maker of the world’s best gravies and flakiest crusts. She is absolutely wrong, and there’s no way to tell her without risking my rightful share of them…
And so, it is with my being absolutely right on the subject of the deliciousness of cilantro, cumin, and buffalo sauce that I come to you with another mind-blowing foray into uncharted foods.
Salt.  On an apple.
Is it wrong?  Is it wrong to crave salt, to pair it with the tart, crispness of an apple, to chortle indulgently while the juice runs down your chin?
Well, yes.  That last bit?  Yes.  That’s wrong.  Let’s not be undignified.
But now that I’ve linked salt with apple and found it to be delish, now what?  Is the combination of salt and apple the gateway to other odd and seemingly contradictory couplings?
I mean, my sister forced – forced! – me to slather chocolate frosting on saltine crackers once, and that didn’t affect me much, right?  I mean, it’s true that the combination of frosting and crackers forced me to re-think my stance on my parents’ cream-cheese-jalapeno-Ritz-cracker offering the last holiday season, and then there was the peanut-butter-potato-chip-sandwich that was passed around at that one party…
Don’t look at me like that.
I can quit any time I want to.

41 comments:

Goldenoldenlady said...

In the UK, especially Up North, we put apples with salthy crumbly cheeses, especially at this time of year. Perhaps you are channelling your inner Lancastrian...?

Pearl said...

Goldenoldenlady, my grandmother (Danish, primarily) always had a slice of aged cheddar with her apple pie. :-)

Teresa Evangeline said...

I had forgotten about salt and apples. Must try again! I have been watching cooking shows, Chopped, to be exact, and it's all about the sweet and savory, and salt. It's needed more than we would think.

That, and cream cheese.

Shelly said...

Cilantro and comino (cumin) are staples in my house. I don't like to brag, but should you ever make it to Texas, I'll give you some of my pico that will taste like heaven has laid down in your mouth (with a little bit of hell for the fire).

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Dad swore by salt on watermelon..never tried it myself but...just putting it out there.

Goldenoldenlady said...

Northern Counties of UK were once referred to as the Danelaw (back in the early middle ages) as that is where the Vikings held sway, settled, traded, demanded Danegelt and maybe threw in some raping and pillaging for good measure.

Many Northern UK families have names that are all too obviously Scandinavian. Take my maiden name, f'r'instance; JEPSON. We also have the same type of features, colouring and habits of mind and practice that mark us out as from Scanidinavia, even though it's eleven centuries since any of our family last lived there.

Cheese/salt and apples might be such a habit. It's maybe in the small section of DNA that governs tastebuds. Who knows?

Indigo Roth said...

Apricot and anchovy pie... mmmm....

fishducky said...

Chocolate milk shakes are wonderful, & I love mashed potatoes & gravy, so how would it taste if I put some in my next shake? Mmmm--yummy!!

jabblog said...

Rich fruit cake and cheese, kippers and marmalade. . . recently I've been roasting peaches/nectarines (with onions, garlic,celery, courgettes, potatoes) to accompany roast chicken.
My father often used to have a piece of bread with salt and pepper as a snack.
I like banana and Marmite sandwiches.

Pearl said...

Teresa, oh, yes. And cream cheese!!! Fall is truly here...

Shelly, I truly intend to make that happen, make no mistake. If I could eat one kind of food for the rest of my life -- and I think I speak for The Boy as well -- it would be anything south of the U.S. border (and perhaps just north of it!) Fabulously flavorful....

Delores, I've heard that as well!

Goldenoldlady, ah! Wonder if some of my people passed through there? Then again, I'm thinking the world is dotted with "Larsen"s!!

Indigo, you stop that!! :-)

fishducky, make that a chocolate malt and we're talkin'!

Pearl said...

jabblog, roasted fruit sounds wonderful. I have a soft spot, so to speak!, for apricots. My father grew up on warmed-up fat/drippings from the last pan to have fried meat in it with salt and onion. A "wish" sandwich...

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

You have got to try chocolate covered potato chips. Trust me.

fmcgmccllc said...

I'm in with the soap (soap, no skip, maybe a distant relative)vote.

Is salted apple with salted caramel too much. Is there such a thing as too much.

terlee said...

When I was a kid I couldn't eat a tuna sandwich without a layer of potato chips on top.

And try ketchup on a lemon wedge. Unbelievably it tastes just like an orange! (Oh the things we discover in our youth after one drink too many...)

Stephanie Pounds said...

First impression of cilantro: Yuck! Now I grow it in my garden because I want lots of it.

Salt on apple and watermelon. Didn't know unsalted was an option. My mama taught me that is how you eat them.

And of course salt on a grapefruit. Unless you are my father, in which case, sugar.

Jess said...

Salt on cantaloupe. SO GOOD.

Douglas said...

My wife (the lovely Faye) puts pepper on her cantaloupe but will not eat cilantro. She makes a chili that will re-route your intestines and make them behave like a firehouse but she will not countenance cilantro.

Me? I am just now coming to grips with allowing the various items on my plate to touch each other.

erin said...

I guess there's a percentage of the population that tastes something in cilantro that most of us can't taste and it always tastes like soap to them. It was explained to me why this is but now I can't remember. It's like a recessive trait that pops up everywhere and is very horrible, like that weird long second toe thing. ;)

Dr Zibbs said...

I'm always surprised at how many people don't like cilantro. I like it.

NotesFromAbroad said...

Now, honey, there is nothing wrong with being simple .
Oh ! you mean simple taste ? oh well, then.. I am fairly adventurous with tastes , as long as chocolate is involved, I am very open minded.
love you.

Cheryl said...

Oh, Pearl. Try drinking fresh orange juice with your popcorn. That'll set you free!

Linda O'Connell said...

Chocolate milk and Pepsi; don't turn your nose up. It is delicious.

Eva Gallant said...

How about chocolate flavored cream cheese on graham crackers? My husband puts salt on apples, so you're not alone there!

The Management said...

Cilantro is the best.

I like my strawberries dipped in balsamic vinegar... everyone assumes this is weird until I tell them I was raised by a man who touts peanut butter and green onion sandwiches as being "the best thing ever".

Just found you blog. Love it.

jenny_o said...

The finicky eater in me is weeping in the corner (along with the reduced salt dieter in me), while the chocoholic chants chocolate, chocolate, chocolate to drown you all out!!

Stephen Hayes said...

There are only a few things that cilantro tastes good on but those things are made great by this unassuming little weed. Mrs. Chatterbox would agree that it tastes like soap.

R. Jacob said...

a banana sliced long way, spread on peanut butter, make it look like a sandwich, cut in one inch pieces, to die for.

plain m&m's mixed with fritos corn chips sweet and salty in every handful!

Kana said...

I was at a pool party. I was at the snack table, laden with healthy fruits, veggies and dip. I was eating ALL the watermelon. Slowly. Deliberately. Staring at the pool denizens keeping an uninterrupted flow of cold watermelon deliciousness to my mouth. Then - I dropped one.

Into the Ranch.

I think you know what happened next. I have since branched out, and found I like strawberries in Ranch too.

I will not bore you on a soliloquy on how good my family's traditional toast-jam-bacon breakfast sandwiches are, especially when it's strawberry jam, because it goes without saying.

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

While camping a few weeks ago and after a few too many drinks I decided to form a little box out of tin-foil and put in it some peanuts, a milky way bar, some Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and some whiskey. I put it over the fire for a bit, let it cool and then ate this newly formed candy bar. It was surprisingly good but like I said, it was after a few too many drinks.

Gigi said...

Oh Pearl, I am hiding this blog post from my husband because we just had a big to do about salt. That man will salt anything that doesn't fight back (despite it being an big no-no for him, he loves it). God forbid should he hear about salt and apples!

savannah said...

*sigh*

yes.


xoxoxox

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Pearl, just try it once, garlic buds fried with melted cheddar cheese until they're crispy....

Roshni AaMom said...

well, obviously cumin and cilantro like are staples in our house...and salt...that's there also!!

Rose L said...

I love using cilantro in cooking. I have a potato recipe using it that is always a hit. It also includes turmeric.
I like to use salt on my tomatoes and oranges.
When I was young my other would spread saltines with butter and serve it to us with chicken soup when we were sick. Mmmm!

The Elephant's Child said...

Cilantro leaves are poison pure and simply. Your mother was way too generous. I think they taste the way a fetid swamp smells. I am happy to use the seeds in cooking but the leaves? Bleah. Gak. Fooey.

River said...

I agree with the "tastes like soap" crowd. I've never liked cilantro, which we know as coriander.
I put chopped fruits, pineapple, rockmelon, (cantaloupe), banana, watermelon etc in the salad bowl along with the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber and drizzle the lot with italian dressing.
A friend salts her oranges, but puts sugar on her tomatoes.

Suldog said...

There's a wide world of wonderfully weird food combinations out there. I tried a combination of marshmallow fluff, canned tuna, and hot sauce, on a saltine. I'm serious. And it was EXCELLENT! The combination of sweet, hot, salty, and, uh, fishy, was truly good. So, I will never, ever give you grief for salt on an apple.

The Six-Fingered Monkey said...

I agree with mom, cilantro tastes like soap. I can't do it.

The salted apple sounds quite interesting though.

Sextant said...

You mean you never tried salt on apple! Pearl, why you little naive... I thought all kids tried salt on everything when growing up.

Here is an absolute must try. The next time you are out at the farm during tomato season. About 11 AM on a sunny warm day, take the salt shaker out to the tomato patch, find your self a ripe one sitting in the direct sunlight. Take a bite, apply the salt...and prepare to go to Oz (a description I usually reserve for other sensual delights--I respectfully make exception in this case).

Crushed potato chips on a peanut butter sandwich and cottage cheese on nacho cheese flavored Doritos...not very imaginative, but then again I have the culinary sophistication of a typical 9 year old.

Lo said...

Ummmmm.I loves cilantro
and chocolate covered salty preetzels nd pretzels and ice cream and apples or grapeswith sharp, salty cheese.......salty and sweet together is a good thing.

Daisy said...

The first time I tasted cilantro I complained to the server that it had gotten soap from the kitchen. Thought it had become involved with the dish water!

I love apple slices with a nice sharp,salty cheese.