Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Culinary contemplations

The time has come for me to clarify my thoughts on important culinary matters.

The important consideration of the Christmas Cake to icing ratio
How much icing ought you to have on any one slice of Christmas Cake? Certainly if the slice is all icing or mostly icing then it is too much. But a Christmas Cake with the icing removed is a sad experience. The icing provides a nice contrast to the cake, after all. The white colour is gay and cheering, and the sweetness of the sugar complements the richness of the fruit. Sometimes, one likes to take alternate bites out of the icing and the cake, just to keep things even, and ensure that the right combination of flavours is in one's mouth at any one time. (However, the question of how to eat a Christmas Cake ought to form a separate consideration which will not be entered into today). At other times, one likes to leave the icing aside as a special treat, or to eat all the icing first thing to get to the 'good bit'. It is all a matter of personal taste, and depends on the time and context. Of course, the amount of icing one gets on one's slice of cake depends a great deal on where you cut the slice from, with a side slice of cake getting all the icing going down the side as well as the icing on top; while a middle slice of cake will only get the amount of icing on top. On the whole I like to get the middle slice of cake, simply because I like the amount of icing to be moderated somewhat, and because it feels somehow better to have a larger portion of the 'good bit'. However, the Christmas Cake to icing ratio cannot be expressed definitively, I argue - I feel, rather, it is a question of heart. Look, basically, I suppose I am saying if you want to give me a slice then I'll be happy with any old slice.

The important meditation on Rum and Raisin icecream
'Rum', 'raisins', and 'icecream' are three of the most delicious things on earth. Therefore, it is understandable that 'rum and raisin icecream' forms one of the most crucial food groups in any icecream shop, and they will be judged according to the availability, and quality, of the aforementioned food. However, it can be a tricky thing to get right: one wants to clearly taste the rum without it being too overpowering. And clearly, the word 'raisin' ought not to indicate that the portion of icecream purchased have only one raisin, singular, contained within. (Unfortunately, I have encountered more than one situation where I have found only one raisin, or, worse, no raisins, within my apportioned portion of rum and raisin icecream). As with the 'Christmas Cake to icing ratio', I feel there are no clear rules to be set out here - but there should neither be too many raisins as to leave next-to-no room for the icecream, nor too few raisins that it is all icecream. What one is aiming for is a pleasing balance.

Thank you for listening to my thoughts on these important culinary matters. Please feel free to print them out and take them round to your local suppliers of important culinary, er, food.

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