Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bad Taste

I am sometimes, understandably, called to task for one of my odd, or unrefined, or cranky predilections—e.g. 327 word essays, or Rolling Rock beer, or an unwillingness to get a cell phone, respectively—but none so often or with such vehemence as my taste of for the cheese sandwich with mustard and jelly.

When I tell people that cheddar cheese and raspberry Bonne Maman combines deliciously with Grey Poupon, they gag and retch and give me the “ew gross” treatment with sheer abandon, as if I’ve proposed the consumption of something really disgusting like barbecue-flavored potato chips smothered in Funyons and mushroom soup.

So be it; they all laughed at Edison, too, and I accept the limited world views of those less adventurous than me; I’ve even used this example of my taste for sandwiches in ethics classes to help distinguish between behaviors many people take to be distasteful—for example, seeing men kiss on the lips—as opposed to behaviors we might reasonably take to be unethical—for instance, passing a Constitutional Amendment that would prohibit such a kiss ever occuring at the end of a legal marriage ceremony—and I really don’t mind that my students, my family, and perhaps many in earshot of this posting are repelled by what I like to put in my mouth on certain occasions, notably Tuesdays, which tend to be my weekly cheese sandwich lunch day.

What’s odd is that many of the very same folks who shiver at the thought of mustard, jelly, and cheese sharing the same space inside two slices of bread have no qualms about consuming sweet and sour dishes—pork, wonton, even chicken—at Chinese restaurants, and what are they but mustardy, jelly-y, concoctions of the same sort?

At the Chinatown Inn, the Pittsburgh institution our dad used to take us after swimming on Sundays, we’d always dip our egg rolls (secret ingredient, peanut butter) in hot mustard and sweet hoisin sauce and nobody batted an eye.


Blogger Deb's Lunch said...

I get that "eww gross" reaction to some of my favorite sweet & savory flavor combinations, too, especially from my son John - the grilled Swiss on raison bread that I particularly like he thinks is disgusting - hmm, mustard on that? could be good ... and I have been to a cheese tasting in a very elegant restaurant, where we were served crispy toasts made from raison-walnut bread to go under our bleu stinky cheeses - no one batted an eye there, either

2:43 PM  

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