Our Lass works as part of a small team. One of her colleagues is currently attending a cookery class, one evening a week, which teaches participants the skills necessary to prepare food for the festive period.
A pleasant outcome of this is that, the following day, her colleague brings to work some examples of her baking from the previous night's class. If I'm very lucky, some of these goodies find their way to Tense Towers. The other week we gratefully sampled some scones and cake, which were very tasty indeed.
Yesterday evening, Our Lass arrived home with a small clear plastic container in which could be seen half a dozen biscuits. I was informed that as one of the ingredients was marzipan, which Our Lass doesn't like, all the biscuits were for me to try. Result!
After our meal, out of politeness, I patiently waited several microseconds before sauntering to the kitchen to savour these latest culinary delights. After all, I am rather partial to marzipan. On first opening the container, however, I was a little disconcerted by the aroma, which seemed rather savoury in origin for a sugary almond confection. Then I noticed the poppy seeds decorating the biscuits and, confused, I pondered upon the lack of any sort of sweet fondant vibe.
Nonplussed, I selected a biscuit at random and took a small exploratory bite. Mmmm, the texture was perfect, a nice gentle crunch and a pleasing melt-in-the-mouth experience, but I couldn't detect anything of my favourite festive taste. There was a strong flavour, mind, but what was it? I called to Our Lass to ask if she was sure about the marzipan, and she replied that she was certain that is what her colleague had said.
Now thoroughly perplexed, I wandered to the lounge to offer Our Lass a biscuit, to see if she could work out what the mystery ingredient was. After a few more moments' cogitation, we finally agreed that there was a definite cheesy note, which confirmed my initial savoury thought. Our Lass wondered if she had picked up the wrong container by mistake. What else could explain the difference between expectation and reality? Intriguingly, the taste was quite familiar, and eventually I recalled a nice restaurant we used to frequent on very special occasions, where an amuse-bouche was often served between courses. This was the clue we needed to solve the cryptic culinary case.
The answer turned the whole world upside down, for although Our Lass won't touch marzipan, whereas I will, the mystery ingredient has exactly the opposite effect on us both. Parmesan!
M-ah-zip-an / P-ah-miz-an, it's an easy mistake to make.