Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Matter Of Timely Tasting

For some reason this little gem was dredged from the furthest, darkest recesses of my warped memory as I walked the dog today and, in the way these things sometimes do, it got me thinking.

My parents had taken my younger cousin and I to visit my dad's sister in Helensburgh (what used to be a fairly nice town, birthplace of John Logie Baird and retirement heaven on the river Clyde coastline*).  Now we (me and female cousin) had a particularly awkward relationship - being on my mother's side of the family, the side that encouraged competition and favouritism.  She was younger, prettier and blonde and I could be catty enough to say she is none of those now.  She was everything that side of the family wanted, including remarkable unambitious.  Me, too much of a daydreamer for them, a common comment was "what do you want to do *art* for?"  Said in the tone used if someone announced a desire to become a tax collector.

Anyway this has nothing to do with what I was starting to say.

We went to this "Italian" restaurant where both of us picked spaghetti bolognese and yes I know it won't have been genuine, this is Scotland in the mid-80s not Masterchef.  It arrived, yummy yummy and we were asked did we want parmesan cheese?  Thinking of home cooked spag bol with a bit of cheddar grated on top we said yes please.  (Here we'll end that rumour of Scottish people eating deep fried everything.)  The cheese that ended up sprinkled on top of our pasta not only smelled of sick, it didn't look that appetising either.

We quietly scraped it to the side and ate the rest.

Now, fast forward 25 years.  I adore what the Hobbits call "sprinkle cheese" and yes, we do put it on our  pasta.  Proper Italian version, not the kind called "hard cheese" either.  Yummy yum.  So what happened?

I'm walking along the path beside the burn (small stream, I'll teach you Scots one word at a time).  I'm thinking of this for no reason whatsoever and wonder - was it poor quality substitute we got or just how things were back then?  I know tastes change but surely not that much that I would now love something I once associated with sick?

Plus my Hobbits, much as I love them, can be occasionally and frustratingly picky on certain things, cheese is one.  They love it and I would have been told if there was anything untoward about it.

Now I've unburdened this erratic mind fudge I'll leave you with a panda.

*It was too near Faslane for my anti-nuclear war view liking, at times the submarines would surface as they returned and the noise they made was so horribly metallic that it served the idea of them as machines of apocalyptic war very well.  It is very hard to describe the noise perfectly but even thinking about it sends fingers of ice down my spine.

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