While I was quivering with almost girlish excitement over the fabulous asparagus, it hit me: all my favourite tastes are on the strong side.
This morning I double-bagged my tea. Yes, it's red (black) tea, and like most such products, it has a powerfully brisk and rounded flavour spectrum.
No, I didn't add milk or sugar.
I just wanted oomph.
Oomph is good. It ought to be listed with all the rest of life's necessities.
Food & drink. Lodging. Love. Illicit behaviour. Sleep.
And strong passionate flavours.
CAN I WHIP THAT FOR YOU?
Years ago the British were convinced that strong flavours excited bestial passions, especially among children and the lower classes. This explains the blandness of nursery food, and why English cuisine has a couple of screws loose.
Anything with a vibrant taste awoke instincts which were best left repressed.
They may have been looking at the issue from entirely the wrong angle -- consider the howling savagery of their famous public schools, were the food was notoriously bland and bad, and the boys ended up enjoying daily beatings, Latin and Greek, caning, sports, Onan cults, and cricket.
Obviously the poor dears needed some oomph.
As well as a good birching.
Nothing says 'corporal punishment' quite like English food.
It also explains English smutty literature from the nineteenth century; books filled with reformatories, orphanages, innocent religious maidens corrupted by headmasters and headmistresses, curates leading choirboys astray, wooden paddles, cold showers, hair shirts, and French phrases. Poorhouses (gruel), sailing ships (dry biscuits), and severe lashings.
Blandness leads to perversion, crimes, and social rot.
On the other hand, I make liberal use of chilipaste, ginger, fermented fish products, strong tea, and good tobacco. Peppers and all the spices of the Indies, plus Latakia, Turkish, aged Virginia, and Perique.
And I assure you that I am a morally upstanding man.
One of my friends inundates his French fries with Sriracha and barbecue sauce.
To the best of my knowledge there isn't an ounce of depravity in him.
If he started smoking a pipe, he'd probably be a saint.
A CLEAN WHOLESOME LUNCH
The tobacco I smoked before eating was a thirty year old Balkan mixture.
Lunch consisted of asparagus, chow fun, chilifried chicken, spicy dumpling, green peppers, and rice. With hotsauce.
I am presently enjoying a fine strong cup of black coffee, and sniffing my fingers.
Hmmmm, zesty! They smell like fortitude and backbone.
Very righteous indeed.
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