Falling in Love eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 388 pages of information about Falling in Love.
makes it comparatively difficult for us to realise the distinctness of the elements which go to make up most tastes as we actually experience them.  Moreover, a great many eatable objects have hardly any taste of their own, properly speaking, but only a feeling of softness, or hardness, or glutinousness in the mouth, mainly observed in the act of chewing them.  For example, plain boiled rice is almost wholly insipid; but even in its plainest form salt has usually been boiled with it, and in practice we generally eat it with sugar, preserves, curry, or some other strongly flavoured condiment.  Again, plain boiled tapioca and sago (in water) are as nearly tasteless as anything can be; they merely yield a feeling of gumminess; but milk, in which they are oftenest cooked, gives them a relish (in the sense here restricted), and sugar, eggs, cinnamon, or nutmeg are usually added by way of flavouring.  Even turbot has hardly any taste proper, except in the glutinous skin, which has a faint relish; the epicure values it rather because of its softness, its delicacy, and its light flesh.  Gelatine by itself is merely very swallowable; we must mix sugar, wine, lemon-juice, and other flavourings in order to make it into good jelly.  Salt, spices, essences, vanilla, vinegar, pickles, capers, ketchups, sauces, chutneys, lime-juice, curry, and all the rest, are just our civilised expedients for adding the pleasure of pungency and acidity to naturally insipid foods, by stimulating the nerves of touch in the tongue, just as sugar is our tribute to the pure gustatory sense, and oil, butter, bacon, lard, and the various fats used in frying to the sense of relish which forms the last element in our compound taste.  A boiled sole is all very well when one is just convalescent, but in robust health we demand the delights of egg and bread-crumb, which are after all only the vehicle for the appetising grease.  Plain boiled macaroni may pass muster in the unsophisticated nursery, but in the pampered dining-room it requires the aid of toasted parmesan.  Good modern cookery is the practical result of centuries of experience in this direction; the final flower of ages of evolution, devoted to the equalisation of flavours in all human food.  Think of the generations of fruitless experiment that must have passed before mankind discovered that mint sauce (itself a cunning compound of vinegar and sugar) ought to be eaten with leg of lamb, that roast goose required a corrective in the shape of apple, and that while a pre-established harmony existed between salmon and lobster, oysters were ordained beforehand by nature as the proper accompaniment of boiled cod.  Whenever I reflect upon such things, I become at once a good Positivist, and offer up praise in my own private chapel to the Spirit of Humanity which has slowly perfected these profound rules of good living.


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Falling in Love from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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