Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wherein Jay gets a bit on the soapbox about food again.

Look, it's totally true. I've made peace with it, even if those around me maybe haven't altogether.

I'm picky. About food. But not in the way that you're thinking! I'll try just about anything, and my comfort zone is really, really broad. I like things like oysters and offal and powerful cheese and super-funky foot-smellin' sour beers.

But there are some things a lot of people in my circles swoon over that don't do it for me at all. I've never been blown away by sashimi. Mushrooms almost always leave me clammy (there's something really off-putting to me about their texture). And Just no with the salmon. As I'm typing this, it's the only food I can think of that I'll put my foot down about. Like, will not order it, will not try someone else's.

I know, I know. I'm actually one of the first people to rail against eating by dogma and limiting your palate. But I like to think that I've reached the point where I've tried all of these things in various preparations and can conclusively say that they're not for me. I like fish! A lot! And will try pretty much any new fish that I haven't had before at least once. Fugu? Sure, I like life on the edge as much as the next guy. Angler fish, knowing that it looks like this?

Yep, sure would. But really was concretized for me one day when I was running a kitchen in Seattle. It was the afternoon and I needed a dinner special and had a ton of salmon on hand (in Seattle! who'da guessed). So I asked the waitstaff for suggestions, and they all said a salmon quesadilla. "No way," I thought. "That much super-heavy oily fish with a bunch of cheese? Never sell. Also GROSS." (I think cheese and seafood have no place being put together in the same dish, but that's just me.) I just about sold out of salmon that night. Must have made at least twenty of them, and argued with my gag reflex the whole time. Seattle, man. You can't throw a demitasse in that town without hitting some salmon dinner special. Town's nuts for it.

All of which brings me around to pears. I don't really like pears, and I've tried them any number of ways. Like mushrooms, it's a textural thing: the grit. And I really like apples, so you'd think I'd dig pears. But! Now I've found a sound botanical reason for why they don't do it for me: sclerids! Pears have a much higher quantity of "stone cells" than apples do, and since a lot of times you can't actually tell an apple from a pear just by looking at them, this is the real differentiator. 

Don't get me wrong, our pear sorbetti are legit tasty--here's the Bosc pear sorbetto, which is currently makes my list of top 22 flavors:

I mean, that's pretty much the Platonic ideal of a pear, yeah? Lookin' good, Bosc.

And listen...all this stuff? Totally just my subjective preferences. Most of my friends go nuts for serious sushi and sashimi; it just doesn't do it for me. And given all the vegetarians in my family, if I didn't eat the occasional mushroom we'd never be able to share pizza again (truth: I pick them off and feed them to the dogs). And pears? Yeah, I dig the pear sorbetto. Wanna know a secret? Match it with a shot of whiskey. Or keep an eye out for the pear and Wild Turkey sorbetto if you're not actually in the mood for a drop o' the pure. But their days are numbered, so you should maybe get in sooner than later! 

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