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13:14 - Sunday, Apr. 21, 2013
an olive thing
As food-centric as I am, there are still basic consumption rituals to which I am an utter stranger. Ordering at a coffee shop, for example. When the cashier asked me if I had a milk preference for my Mayan hot chocolate, I had absolutely no idea what he meant. I mean, I didn't know it automatically, like following a behavioral script. It took me about three seconds to figure it out, which was about 2.8 seconds too long for the style of back-and-forth appropriate for this situation.

And then the brilliant answer I came up with was 'no', which, judging by the stutter in his behavioral script, in turn, was not what people usually say.

Standing in the shop, looking at the coffeemakers, made me want to drink coffee, if only to gain the tactile experience of using a French press.

I also am unfamiliar with food-wine pairing, which, as an aspiring food critic, worries me more than the above unfamiliarity. I wonder if it's possible for me to force myself to suddenly not think that wine tastes like pure ferment, like gasoline or mold.

The fanciest meal of my life, at Chez Panisse, was paired with a $7 glass of extravagant grape juice, which tasted like lychee flowers and was splendid. I loved the waiter for not blinking an eye or twitching the merest of facial muscles when I chose that instead of a bottle of wine. He swirled the bottle of grape juice into our wine glasses like it was, well, whatever I would say here if I knew what the finest, most rarest of wines was called.

I succeeded in making myself like black olives, in a years-long campaign of gradual exposure (first in hummus, then on pizza, then in salads, and finally plain), but green olives still make me cringe. I don't know if wine is more of a black olive thing or a green olive thing.


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