Sitting down with a dram, glass of wine, delicious food,or indeed all three is a sensory pleasure which we rightly hold in high esteem. With a plethora of flavours easily available we can indulge in whatever tickles our taste buds. In our busy-bee realities do we really give the flavour process the time and attention it deserves and are our lives helping to shape the nature of flavour itself?
When I was a child our house seemed to revolve around its reactor core, our coal fired Aga. For heat, cooking and drying, the Aga played a vital and dependable role, as long as the wind blew from the right direction. Occasionally my mum would be more akin to an engine driver, stoking the flames and adding more fuel to the little furnace. Cooking was the gentle and slow process of coaxing out the flavours, tenderly encouraging them to take their first steps into the world and mingle with others in their own time.
Today I feel that slowly developed flavours are becoming as rare a joy as commuting aboard a steam train. With no time to waste we need flavour on the go and need a diary planner to fully appreciate the processes in the kitchen. It is no surprise then, that in our busy worlds that convenience has become king. We need flavour and we need it now. Simply add monosodium glutamate, high fructose corn syrup, salt and more sugar and we have our sensory satisfaction sorted for the next few hours. If the sound of all that sugar opposes your programme we can just pack it with aspartame instead, and not to mention all of the stabilisers, preservatives and colouring agents. There’s a great game I like to play in the supermarket, its called find the cheddar without artificial colourings. Try it sometime.