The human sense of taste evolved in part to protect us from bad food. For instance, natural poisons tend to be bitter on the tongue and we do not like bitter tastes (obviously, that does not explain cable news shows but that’s a topic for a different blog). Rotten foods as well are more easily avoided because of their off flavors, but especially their smell and the olfactory sense is closely associated with taste. Rotten foods trigger a physical response so that we will avoid them.
And we do.
Except when we don’t. In fact, sometimes we go to elaborate lengths to rot food so that then – and only then – do we consider it to be at its peak of taste.
Go into your favorite gourmet supermarket and your nose will likely carry you to the section created specifically to display artisanal rotted mammary gland secretions. Fancy French restaurants will bring an entire cart of these rotten delicacies to your table at the end of the meal.
They just call it “cheese.” Actually, the French call it “fromage” but you get my point. The marketing consultants must have discovered that the name “rotted mammary gland secretions” did not test well with the focus groups.
And we’ve embraced the rot elsewhere. Sauternes wine gets its delicate sweetness from rotted grapes. Even the Internet is in on the act with Rotten Tomatoes, the free range movie site.
I was moved toward all this rotten writing the other night when this sight greeted me in the refrigerator.
No, it’s not a gorilla paw or a Texas-sized spider. It’s rotting bananas.
Astute readers of this blog will no doubt leap to the conclusion that rotten bananas in the fridge must be a sign of Chef Dad at work. A science experiment? Hiding things from guests? Preparing to throw things at the TV if the Texas Longhorns have another lousy season?
Admittedly, I’m capable of all those things. But, in this case the ringed finger of rot should point to BMW. Rotting bananas in the fridge is a clear sign that we’ll be having banana muffins soon. You’ve no doubt seen commercials for foods that tout they were “picked at the peak of freshness.” Well, for banana muffins, BMW uses the exact opposite philosophy. Apparently, there is a peak of non-freshness as well, just this side of when they really are rotten and a few steps away from when they would walk out of the fridge on their own like Thing in the Addams Family.
Add eggs, vanilla and a blender and they end up looking like this.
If her timing was off, they bring new meaning to the words “fast food” by lifting themselves out of the pan.