chris: (stockton-on-tees)
[personal profile] chris
1. Several of you are going through rough times at the moment, particularly in terms of health developments. A blanket comment like this doesn't come close to cutting it, and I'll try hard to make the time to send you my warm thoughts while they're still topical, but do know I'm thinking of you.

2. Word of the day, or at least the word I've had going through my head since I woke up, is "escutcheon". It turns out that I didn't know what it means; I thought it meant something like "soupçon", or another way of saying "a small amount". Apparently it has a number of different meanings, none of which are even close to that, and some of which are not to be used lightly.

3. I work five minutes' walk (including a large and ever-so-slightly wobbly bridge) away from Stockton's main shopping centre. To give you a flavour, it features a Home Bargains, a Poundworld, a Wilkinson's and at least one or two more similar overstock stores. At work, we're quite keen on Dunkables, which are boxes of offcut, misshaped, broken and otherwise rejected chocolate biscuits. (Cookies!) I liken the fun of opening a box and discovering what's inside to that enjoyed by those of you who collect baseball cards, plus the biscuits are generally off-cuts of something at the classier end of the spectrum; you know, fancy selection box biscuits. The best pull I've had were biscuits that looked like Rocky (the biscuit, not the fictional boxer) but were made from "chocolate orange" chocolate. I didn't know anyone made those.

Similarly, on Friday, I bought a see-through bag of "Luxury Chocolate Misshapes" just because I liked the look of them, and they did indeed turn out to be genuine examples of rejects from some very famous chocolate box or another. (Without the wrappings, obviously.) Trouble is, I can't quite remember the original boxes well enough to tell if they were Quality Street, Roses, All Gold, Milk Tray or something else. (I'm pretty sure it wasn't Black Magic, but...) There needs to be a web site which catalogues these offcut biscuits and chocolates for ease of recognition. Is there, or do I need to start it?

4. On another similar "does this web site exist - and, if not, why not" front, I'd like to use a web site which automatically ran the "What song are you listening to?" application continuously upon several radio channels and keeping a list of the last few songs played by each radio station. Ideally it would also feature links to the songs' lyrics at one of the million and one lyrics web sites out there. This is a web site which possibly even has a business model, unlike most web site ideas, in that at least it could fairly obviously feature affiliate links to buy the songs that you might just have missed.

5. I understand there is great science behind the concept of picking wines which will go well with different courses of a meal. By extension, it surely ought to be possible to use the same logic to combine non-alcoholic drinks and meals. Suppose you have decided that your four drink options for the day are milk, orange juice, Coke and generic off-brand sugar-free lemon-and-lime, but you don't want to have any of them more than once. (There's always water as a possibility too, I guess.) If you knew you were going to have (over the course of a long day) (a) cheese on toast, (b) my wife's particularly brilliant spaghetti bolognaise and (c) vegetable curry with rice, are there some general principles that can be applied to decide which drink should go with which meal?

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-07 02:58 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Well, milk goes with curry easily enough - Indians know this full well, hence mango lassis - as the neutrality of the dairy offsets the spice.

As far as other soft drinks go I am not sure that your idea works so well. In my experience the science of pairing wine with food is based on the style and flavour of the wine, which can be dry or fruity or oaky or creamy, and have many different tastes, all different kinds of fruit and so on. Wine is not just alcoholic grape juice - well, it is but it doesn't taste of it.

The problem I run up against when theorising about pairing a soft drink with something is that the flavour of orange juice or lemon and lime is WYSIWYG. They're nice flavours that do exactly what it says on the tin, but they're one flavour only, and don't compare in the same way the multiple - and often so subtle that I can't spot them - flavours of a good wine.

Thinking about your challenge, however, I would have the OJ or the lemon with cheese on toast, for the opposite reason to the curry - the acidity of the fruit might go well with the more neutral dairy flavours. I think either of those flavours would also be perfectly pleasant with the spag bol but wouldn't complement it. Coke I wouldn't have with anything on that menu, Coke is for American food only.

Of course there are some foods that wine will never go with, including most - some would say all - British foods as we have no wine-making tradition. A good example is fish and chips, which works best with a drier lager, such as an Italian beer, or very well chilled apple juice (Kingsley Amis recommended Guinness, but I've never tried that particular combination).

People are also now producing guides for pairing artisanal, micro-brewed beers with food. However I don't know of any equivalent for non-alcoholic drinks. Maybe there's a market?

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-07 02:59 pm (UTC)
shinytoaster: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shinytoaster
Bugger. Sorry, Chris, that was me. Thought I was logged in.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-07 04:28 pm (UTC)
shewalksonroses: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shewalksonroses
Coke I wouldn't have with anything on that menu, Coke is for American food only.

Hey, my spag bol IS American! :D

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-07 05:10 pm (UTC)
anatsuno: a women reads, skeptically (drawing by Kate Beaton) (Default)
From: [personal profile] anatsuno
I discovered one of the meaning of 'escutcheon' when trawling ebay for decorative stuff. :) I don't even know the word in French for that.

I disagree with Alex on the idea that lemon or OJ are 'one flavor that does what it says on the tin' as I think the variations in possible flavors of OJ are myriad! Just, they're perhaps not standardised and examined as much, hence the possible lack of references or common vocabulary or, even, discussions of availability. Surely though, a store-bought OJ made from concentrate without pulp is nothing like a pulp-full, half blood-orange, 100% pure fruit juice, and that in turn is nothing like a just-pressed, homemade OJ from organic oranges with a dash of one meyer lemon, etc etc. *g*

I'd have the milk with the curry indeed (I seem to have somewhere acquired the idea that the fact dairy counteracts spices so well is due to protein bonding of some kind, so I'm not sure I would say it's the blandness of the dairy working in tandem there, but the fact remains: it's a great pairing). I'd also have the coke with/next to the spaghettis, but this is purely personal: I find coke has a somewhat 'palate-cleansing' ability, and though I like spagbol, I often dislike the way it coats my mouth and lingers after - this pairing would work well for me, but perhaps not for others. I'd probably have the generic off-brand sugar-free lemon-and-lime on its own at some point, and pair cheese on toast with water. :))

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-07 05:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your word of the day features in one of my favorite musicals of all time - "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels". (Yes - based on the Steve Martin/Michael Caine film.) Since the Tony Awards are this evening, I feel it appropriate to quote:

"It really can be such a nasty stain on the escutcheon
When a wisp of DNA begins to fray, then goes astray.
Caligula had the temper, the Hapsburgs had the chin.
George the Third went cuckoo-bird and Nero had that violin.

Richard, you'll remember, had the hump and the withered limb.
The Bushes of Tex were nervous wrecks because their son was dim,
But look what happened to him."

It's a deLIGHTful show. I highly recommend it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-07 11:46 pm (UTC)
oenomel: Danger Mouse studies the Bad Luck Eye of the Little Yellow God (Default)
From: [personal profile] oenomel
3. You need to start it. Mmmm, yummy chocolatey fail!

This is the real me, by the way, not the "at_esc" version that I set up whilst in an "Arrrrr, LJ's failing!" mid-rehearsals panic. I may even start using it... maybe.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-09 07:59 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] malachan
5. An interesting question!

I would definitely have OJ with the cheese on toast (although being me I would have the cheese off toast) and then probably water with the spag bol and the curry if these are the only four options (would have a cider with the curry and a red wine with the spag bol if these were on the menu). Although I could conceivably drink the lemon&lime or OJ with either of the main meals above too. No real science here, just taste preference. I personally think that milk paired with anything not-sweet is a horrible idea!

I think Alex is on to something with the WYSIWYG qualities of soft drinks. Sure, there may be many subtle and delicious variants of, e.g., apple juice if you're willing to fork out £1.50 a litre, but they're all still, well, apple flavoured. And they're all really in your face apple flavoured. As opposed to wines, which have subtle flavours; a Riesling may have an apple-ly flavour but it doesn't overpower the taste buds. I think this neutralises a lot of the potential art/science involved in matching food to soft drinks (not that there isn't any; as per below, fish and chips with a sharp apple juice is a fantastic combination).

Thanks for interesting post

Date: 2009-07-06 11:53 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
You know so many interesting infomation. You might be very wise. I like such people. Don't top writing.

Hello my friends!

Date: 2009-09-17 08:26 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hello my friends!


chris: A birthday cake in the shape of a slightly cartoon-like panda (Default)

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