This is an appetiser:
Tony bought some cheese a couple of weeks ago, two white stiltons, one with chopped mango the other with blueberries. I couldn’t eat the first one: it tasted like tomcats to me. ‘I know what you mean,’ his daughter said. Not that either of us, please believe me, have tasted any part of a tom cat but there was something about the acidity, the sourness, that automatically conjured the image in my head. Or in my mouth.
There’s a poem by Kate Clanchy called, 'Poem for a man with no sense of smell’ that closes with:
the delicate hairs on the nape
of my neck…..
hold a scent so frail and precise as a fleet
of tiny origami ships, just setting out to sea.
I can try and articulate why that makes sense to me, but it feels right before I even begin to think about it. Intimacy and fragility: there’s a connection there.
I can’t imagine anyone without a sense of taste wanting to try the stilton with mango after I tell them it tastes like tomcats! But maybe they would want to try the easiest Thai green chicken curry in the world if I told them it tasted like mini lightning bolts trapped in a silk scarf, or like the heat that makes your foot tingle when you first step into a bubble bath, the sparkle of foam.
1 tbsp oil
¼ jar of paste
400 ml of coconut milk (there’s a half-fat version out now)
2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 pepper thinly sliced (or mix up different colours as I did)
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the paste for 2 minutes. Then add the coconut milk and mix in well. When it’s hot add the chicken and pepper and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Coriander is pretty on the side and you can always have rice with it if you’re not into cabbage. The sound of the word isn’t great, I have to admit. Cabbage? What does it sound like?
|Shredded cabbage and carrot ribbons steamed with crushed cumin and fennel seeds|
Hungry Writing Prompts
- Write about the smell of summer.
- Write about a smell that reminds you of sadness.
- Write about a sound that makes you feel happy.
- Write about something fragile.
- Write about taking a bath.
Yellow being happiness, red anger, all hot and noisy, green was calm etc he helped to devise the list obviously. I also used a similar technique to describe colour to people who had been born blind using smells and taste. I remember the taste of honey was yellow, which is apt, cold was blue etc. It was an uplifting experience when someone 'got it'.
We rely on our sense of sight so much - maybe even more these days as we're bombarded with visual imagery - so exploring the other senses, and synaesthesia, to communicate ideas can be a really deep experience. Especially with people who have never seen, I imagine.
Thanks for sharing this, Brenda.