Taste Week or la semaine du goût
A few years ago when it became apparent that many children thought fish was rectangular and milk came from cartons, the French government decided it was time to do something so that the sense of taste does not disappear completely into the bland expanse of industrialized products. France has many traditions in gastronomy and produces a great deal of high quality food products. This week is dedicated to taste.
We had our own little festival at lunch with “farcis”, a specialty my mother-in-law used to make. This could be translated as stuffed vegetables, but in this family when one says “farcis”, it is almost a term of endearment, so I am thinking “stuffies” would be a good name.
I saved up some round zucchini and Yellow Stuffers tomatoes—what luck, there was a yellow summer squash in the garden! An onion was hanging around under the counter. My husband got the sausage meat at the market from a company that raises the pigs and feeds them a lot of flaxseed.
Hmmm, I thought I had blogged about this dish already, but I can’t find it. Oh, it was just a brief reference in the post on gnocchi. It takes a bit of time to make, but it is flexible—you just take what vegetables you have, hollow them out (you can steam them to make this easier), grind that up with some ground meat, an egg, garlic, a fair amount of parsley, thyme, pepper, anything else you like (salt if you are not using sausage meat), and bake. The more different vegetables you have, the better it is, but if all you have is zucchini, that’s good too. The usual ones are zucchini, eggplant, tomato, potato, onion.
Then I cooked up a pot of applesauce and made an applesauce cake to take tomorrow to a local library which is putting on some events for this week of savours.
Some people are afraid of taste. I remember an incident when I was maybe 7 or 8. A missionary family was visiting and you know how you can tell in a group of people that something is up, without knowing exactly what? Well, I knew the daughter was getting people to taste something “weird” but I was more curious than scared, knowing full well it was not chocolate or a raisin, I ate a fried grasshopper. It tasted like grass.
Another memory I have dates from age 19. I was working at a conference center for the summer and heard people talking about anchovies. I had no idea what they were. Some didn’t mind them; others seemed to think they were so overboard as to be unfit for human consumption. On a day off, I went into town on the bus and had a pizza. When I saw anchovies on the menu, I went for it. What was all the fuss about? I wondered. They were just small fish. In later years, I greatly appreciated the ones my mother-in-law prepared, salting them fresh from the Mediterranean.
Thinking about the taste of fish reminds me of The Revelation of Arès xxx/16. “I have not two tastes. (It is) the fish nerve (that God puts) in my mouth; the griddle cake is left (to the hanged men).” Believers are not to be insipid, but full of life.