I am at that age when it is possible to look straight past a lady to the vision of culinary excellence before her: in this case a breakfast of two sausages, a poached egg and a modestly displayed collection of baked beans escorted towards taste heaven by two slices of toasted brown bread: all good and marvellous, I am sure you will agree, and accompanied by a small bowl filled with brown sauce.
Like a man bewitched I saw her assemble her first forkload of food, about a fifth of a sausage, dunked in the egg yoke and then placed under a soothing blanket of beans before being carefully inserted into her waiting mouth.
By the third mouthful I was overwhelmed by curiosity and emotion and could not stop myself walking up to her table and saying, “I’m sorry to bother you but don’t you find a small element of the brown sauce extends the flavours available in the breakfast and adds a touch of music to the experience.”
She looked at me with some alarm and then said, “I find if the mouthful is assembled with the correct ratios then the range of flavours can be quite wonderful on their own without the muddling addition of the brown sauce.” Now I was transfixed because here was another being who used the word “ratios” in relation to food: one of my favourite concepts. My paper on “The time to taste ratio” in evaluating a cooked meal” was submitted to the Royal College of Physics some years ago although I am still awaiting their reply.
To add to the excitement, she then waved to the chair opposite suggesting I might take my considerable weight off my legs for the duration of the conversation. “I’ve never heard anyone else use the word ‘ratio’ in relation to food before” I said, “Apart from myself” and it was obvious my gaze was lurching towards the personal. “It’s a fundamental concept in the science of food evaluation, “ she said, adding “Are you married!?” On a number of occasions but not currently “ I replied. “And yourself?” I asked, “Currently but not permanently” she replied.
I smiled then at a lady with whom a deep kinship might be possible. “Romance is better approached as a Tapas bar rather than a single main course” I suggested and she replied, “It’s all about the conversations between the flavours and we nodded as only those who have discovered a similar approach to the menu of life can do.
Thus it was that I, Wilber Artichoke, met a good lady who might join me in researching the science behind the perfect forkful and who knows what might happen once we begin discussing that immoral landscape so often inhabited by desserts!