ACQUIRED TASTES

Many of you know that I relax by hitting the kitchen to try new recipes and to experiment with flavors and invent new concoctions. Recently I saw a recipe I wanted to try and it called for saffron, a spice I’d never used or tasted. Saffron is a reddish spice that is derived from the dried stigmas of the crocus plant. Each stigma must be hand-picked. Therefore, it’s an expensive spice and sometimes hard to find. Well off to the spice shop I went and paid a king’s ransom for a jar containing four tiny containers of saffron. Back at home, I began to follow the recipe: sautéed onions, garlic, chicken broth, and finally “a healthy pinch of saffron.” At that point I recalled a much earlier time when I was visiting the home of one of my college professors who was making paella, and his son said, “Please, Pop, none of that red stuff.” And the professor responded, “Okay, no saffron.” Now I’m a cook who tastes as he goes along, and I decided it was time to sample the broth. Instantly I understood why the professor’s son did not want saffron in the paella; it has a very strong, recognizable taste–somewhat bitter–and it was a flavor I didn’t care for. I scrapped that recipe. Down the drain went the entire broth mixture. I guess it’s an acquired taste. I have a partially used jar of saffron, if anyone wants to pay the postage.

One’s taste in reading is very similar to my saffron experience. I love mysteries, adventures, poetry, picture books, and nonfiction (on topics that interest me). I’m not so fond of horror, fantasy (dystopian, or otherwise), sci-fi, or romance. What are your favorite and least favorite genres?

 

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