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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Food texture: blight or benison?

Leeks, a powerful and essential addition to stews, are slimy when boiled alone. Tomato slices in a sandwich transfer moisture to the bread and render it soggy. Potatoes, slightly under-boiled, are crunchily unbearable. Oatcakes feel like chipboard. Green beans, tinned or frozen, lose all rigidity; cannot be cooked al dente. Just a few of my culinary texture problems.

VR cannot bear undissolved sugar crystals in her mouth. Worries about the endless chewability of roast chicken skin. Hates pork pie juice turned to jelly. Has to peel her broad beans.

An unsympathetic texture may result in unpalatibility. But texture can also be the source of  new pleasure. Tesco's coarse-ground mince adds almost a new dimension to bolognese sauce, making me aware I'm eating meat, not meat-flavoured slurry. I asked one of Hereford's many independent butchers about coarse grinding; simple; just one pass through the mincer, not two. Didn't work.

The answer, says VR, lies in the Magimix food processor. Cut rump steak into cubes and subject it to pulsed three-second bursts of the double blade. Visually check. Another burst. Another check. We'll see. (PS: I'm a sucker for coarse paté and coarse sausages).
   
WIP Secondhand (22,685 words)
“It’s this damn office. Too typically police.” In fact the office was wholly anonymous but Wyss needed to bridge the gap that had yawned between them.

“Look, there’s a park nearby. Would it help if we were out of doors?”

Still no response.

“Or would that make things worse? It happened in a car park, didn’t it?  An open space. Sometimes that can lead to agoraphobia.”

Her head rose and her eyes widened. “I hadn’t heard that.”

“Outside your bailiwick....

3 comments:

Ellena said...

My son asks for spaghetti WITH MEAT. I make small meat balls and add them to the so-called 'Bolognaise' but most of the time to my home-made plain tomato sauce.

Joe Hyam said...

Cooked broad beans slipped out of their grey jackets(or blazers) are at their best. They look like emeralds and taste much better that way.

Roderick Robinson said...

Ellena: After I retired and VR was still working I did the weekday evening meals. Did Bolognese right from scratch. Felt very smug about it. Smug goes well with food.

Joe: Chewing them with their blazers still in place I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. They're stodgy but I find myself defending stodge. My father invented his own synonym for stodge - prog. Could also be used as a verb. "Hands in the trough, progging away."

That sort of attitude has resulted in the Brits having a vocabulary a third bigger than the French. The French resort to giving their words many more meanings - an inferior practice, often very confusing.