Fee fie fo fum, I smell the juice of a capsicum
For many of us, certain smells remind us of our childhoods. For me, one of these nostalgic odours is that of a farmyard, which always conjures memories of the Skipton livestock markets which I first visited when I was nine or ten. My friend, Johnny Davenport, and I would sometimes earn sixpence each from a farmer who wanted us to keep his calves company for half and hour or so – it was easy money; we just had to stroke their heads, let them suck our thumbs and generally make a fuss of them so they wouldn’t feel too stressed in their strange surroundings.
These Pavlovian responses engendered by smells, sounds and sights seem to become ever more deeply etched into our psyches as we grow older. The sound of breakers on rocks may always elicit a thrill of fear in the old shore-bound sailor, and the noise of a ball bouncing around a roulette wheel, the sound of a pack of cards being shuffled or the thunder of hooves on turf can still evoke a torment of temptation in the reformed gambler.
For me, possibly the most potent of tempting smells is the wafted scent of a barbecue on a hot afternoon. Although stopping short of taking the veggie pledge, Suze and I eat very little meat these days apart from fish and crustacea, but those aromas of roasting burgers, steaks and sausages coming over our neighbour’s fence make me wonder yet again; “why do we have canine teeth?”
But we minimum meat eaters do have our consolations; the scent of garlic sautéing in white wine is quite literally a reliable foretaste of gastronomic delights to come and my favourite of all cooking smells, to rival even those of a barbecue, is the ambrosial aroma of grilling capsicums (‘bell peppers’ may have a more familiar ring).
As an antipasto dish, grilled capsicums are wonderful on their own, and with pasta, pine nuts and extra virgin olive oil they are Mediterranean cuisine non pareil. Mind you, a side dish of medium rare ribeye never goes amiss.
Please ‘like’ this (if you like it and you’d like to) – it’s the little ‘heart’ symbol at the top of this post. If you don’t see the little heart symbol, just click on the heading, it takes you to the Geoff’s Joust website where you can like the post, and where previous jousts can be read and laughed at. It would also be great if you could share it.