Thursday, October 08, 2009

What did you eat today?

I put things in my mouth for a living. Good, bad, underseasoned, overseasoned, smooth, fade, sweet, get the point. The chef's palate is his most prized tool.(By the way, it's also the home cook's most prized tool) Not a sharp knife, not an immersion circulator, not even a trusty spoon. Without taste, there is no reason for the others. So, not only is on the spot flavor analysis crucial, but having 'flavor recall' is VERY important for developing dishes. So, every new taste gets filed away for use at a later date.

So, I told you that so I could tell you this. I ate an apple today that redefined honey crisp apples for me. Redefined honey crisp apples. Suffice it to say I've eaten a few apples in my life.(including the amazing Arkansas Black) Yesterday, my friend Samuel Martin delivered a half bushel of honey crisp apples to the restaurant. Now, I know there are honey crisp apple available at your local grocer. I've even had honey crisps from Lancaster County. The hook here is that the apples I got weren't 'perfect' looking. They were a little spotty and didn't glisten with the sheen of grocery store apples. However, they were easily the size of softballs and HEAVY. This is a good sign in my book.

I took my first bite. Crisp, snap, full of juice and LOADED with complex flavor. Initially, I was hit with a bit of tart flavor, but that was quickly overrun with caramel, the caramel then gave way to part cider, part grass. The bite(yes this was the first bite) then finished with the floral scents of honey. I know all of this seems a little over the top, so let's boil it down to this. This apple was a revelation. No food pyrotechnics, no liquid nitrogen....just an amazing apple plucked right from the tree. It was so good that I really had no desire to think about what to do with this apple. I just closed my eyes and filed that taste away.

Times like this make me wonder if we savor the food we eat enough on a daily basis. I'm not gonna lie to you, I eat fast food. I eat junk food. However, I also can sit back and really TASTE the food I'm eating.

So, what did you eat today?

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