Thursday, July 15, 2010
Moving gives me way much too much time to think.
A lot of the preparation is mind-numbing. How much concentration does it take to tape the bottoms of a box and fill it with books? So as an attitude adjustment maneuver, I’ve tried seeing moving as an opportunity to indulge, darn near non-stop, in listening to audio books, downloaded from Audible.com.
I figure this will be about a seven-book move -- I’ve already gone through two.
But even at that rate, there’s extra time around the edges where one’s mind tends to wander. The last book I was listening to was one of the culinary mysteries – there’s an amateur detective, a caterer in this series, who finds a not-terribly-bloody murdered body somewhere in her work space, and then the game’s afoot.
These are nice tame little mysteries – usually more interesting because of the continuing saga of the characters than for the quality of the detecting involved, although admittedly some are better than others. Plus, of course, you get the recipes, some of which are pretty good.
Listening to this book, I first noticed that when the protagonist was preparing a luncheon salad, she’d referred to “the luscious nutty flavor of the creamy avocados.” That struck me as a little odd – nutty flavor? Avocados? I’m not a big fan of nuts – given a chance to take ‘em or leave ‘em, I’ll usually pass. But I really like avocados – it just never occurred to me they tasted “nutty”. Huh. How about that?!
The book continued. I kept listening. Another 20 boxes or so later and then there we were again, back to nuts. This time the protagonist was waxing eloquent about how delightfully the “nutty flavor” of the Kona coffee she was drinking blended with the chocolate cookie she was eating. Nutty flavor? Coffee tastes like nuts, too?
But then I started really thinking about it – lots of people say rice has a “nutty flavor”. I started to wonder how many other things people think taste like nuts.
I put down the boxes, wiped my hands and went to the computer. I googled “nutty flavor” and came up with the standard 3.6 million hits in roughly 2.03 seconds. In the first two pages of hits, here are some of the foods people have described as having a “nutty flavor”:
Hemp seed – ho ho!
Whole cumin seeds
--- Not to mention actual nuts, of course – which presumably taste like nuts, too.
How can that be? How can foodstuffs as distinct as asparagus, Burgundy wine and Gouda cheese all taste like nuts?
Or maybe the better question is, what does a nut taste like? Well, let’s see: it takes like cheddar cheese, avocados, white beans, Kona coffee, dal…..
This was getting a little silly. What? Does everything taste like nuts?
Then it started to remind me of the days when my daughter JJ was little and obsessed with peanut butter – honestly, I think she existed mostly on a diet of peanut butter for the better part of one whole year.
But we were trying – so when we’d put a plate of something else in front of her and encourage her to take at least one bite, she’d always ask, “But what does it taste like?” To which there was only one unified parental response: “Peanut butter. It tastes like peanut butter.”
Listen to us, and you’d hear us insist that everything from poached salmon to broccoli to sliced apples tasted like peanut butter.
Maybe that’s what it is with nuts, too. It’s assumed, for whatever reason, that people like the flavor of nuts. So when asked what something tastes like – a question that’s clearly impossible to answer anyway – it’s easy to say, “Like nuts. It has a nutty flavor.”
Could that be it?
Okay, okay – obviously I’ve spent too much time on this issue. But oh – by the way – the caterer figured out that it was the boss’s secretary who bumped him off, right before he was going to expose her embezzlement to the world at the lunch the caterer was preparing.
I hope the caterer got paid for the lunch, that’s all I can say.