Tonight I tasted heaven, and it tasted like lavender blueberry ice cream with a hint of cinnamon.
To top off the unpredictable but complementary flavors, the ice cream I was consuming was in a Red Solo Cup. Wipe that surprise off your face! I am a college student at Arizona State University, and I must honor the unwritten code of our student populous to never be too classy on any given Friday night*.
This Friday night I was chilling with friends, who had cooked me all but the finest samplings of Italian and Middle Easter cuisine.
But let me describe this ice cream for you; indulge me.
First, I’ll start with the physical properties of the ethereal confection, then I’ll break it down to minute reactions that go on in a human mouth that produces some of what we call “taste.”
The color of the lavender blueberry ice cream is probably what you expect when you combine two purple foods*. It was a very rich purple, between the hues of a i-must-purchase-a-party-suit-for-Mardi-Gras purple and the purple of Arizona sunrises, dotted with dark blueberry skin. The look of the ice cream was fairly grainy because it had just been made that afternoon, and so the ice dominated the texture.
Now, to the reactions. (Disclosure: I received an A in honors Chem in high school, but I’m far from an expert.) My father, who is an instructor at Arizona Culinary Institute, has explained to me about the reactions that produce taste in your mouth. You may be familiar with this tongue diagram that shows where sweet, salty, bitter, and sour properties of food will be converted into that particular taste.
Yet, that is where the lavender blueberry ice cream is particularly incredible. I know it the moment I shovel in a spoonful of this stuff that my tongue is in love. And it’s all because of my taste buds. CRAZY.
I have a particular way of eating really good food. (You probably do too and don’t even realize it.)
What I do is take very small bites and roll around the food on my tongue and the roof of my mouth.
WOAH. Sounds like I’m making out with my food! (And here’s my advice boys and girls: Be as picky with the food you eat as the people you decide to snog. Your stomach deserves a lasting relationship just as much as your heart does!) All kidding aside, eating my food like this allows me to think about what I’m eating by taking more time to eat it, and figuring out where particular flavors come from.
So little bite my little bite I inhale two Red Solo Cups servings of this stuff. The grainy, icy texture hits your mouth, and then you’re bombarded with the front of the flavor that is a blast of cinnamon! And then the cinnamon recedes suddenly, leaving in its wake a trail of lavender, which departs as fast as it came. All the while the not too sweet blueberry is sustained within the icy, creamy consistency.
And then you take another bite, and the rollercoaster of flavor begins again.
Doesn’t this sound just heavenly?
I’m sure some famous chef somewhere has said that food does more than fill you up and keep you alive. Food is not just a physical object embodying compatible combinations of carbohydrates and simple sugars. Food is an experience, and that is why food is wonderful.
Now, making every. Time. You. Eat. A food experience! Is. Extremely. Tiring!
Sheesh, most of the time, you’ve got a hummus cup and a ham sandwich for lunch because that’s what’s affordable and convenient. You just want enough energy and nutrition to 1. make it through the school or work day and 2. not become nominated for The Biggest Loser.
But, here’s me telling you to allow more food experiences in your life. Save up to go to that restaurant your connoisseur friend has been bragging to you about. Set your alarm early on a Saturday morning to make it down to the community farmer’s market. Make yourself homemade anything, and make everything from scratch.
Experience food more than just eating it.
And this seems as good a time as any to introduce myself:
Hello, I am Lauren Sandground, and I am a food snob.
*Have you heard of the ASU Undie Run? We’re apparently notorious countrywide. http://www.asuundierun.com/
**The Food Snob snobby opinion corner: That is correct, blueberries look more purple than blue. Go to your fridge and check it out if you don’t believe me. Then make yourself a fruit salad with them, because hopefully you buy only top quality produce, and the blueberries are by now looking mighty tasty.