Monday, March 02, 2009

on bitterness

Aditya Dev Sood at 3QD:

What is it about bitterness, that allows it to become a part of one’s aesthetic appetite later in life, having been the opposite of pleasure in one’s youth? From when I was a child, I'd always loved raw mango, tamarind, every kind of chat, and even those spicy-salted prunes putatively from Afghanistan. But only recently have I begun to drink Campari-soda by choice, enjoy green vegetables of all kinds, including arugula, kale, colacasia, and seek out those super-hoppy beers that can sting my senses with a burst of pure firstness, as if I were seventeen again, experiencing sushi and wasabi for the first time, learning that warm sake can fumigate the nasal cavity just as wasabi can inflame it. My taste for bitterness is, perhaps, partly founded in the search for novelty, but there is also something else, a transformation of the body's biochemistry in early-middle age, to a new and shifted harmonics of taste.

Over a couple of Christoffels at Bangalore's only Jazz bar a few days ago, I asked my friend Gabriel to help me think about bitterness.

8 comments:

Fëanor said...

Hmm, no mention, then, of karela, eh?

Cheshire Cat said...

Right. The taste for bitterness is just a symptom of growing old...

Space Bar said...

feanor: follow the link!

cat: or some of us grow old earlier. or we just acquire sophisticated palates at a tender age. or something. (i like karela).

km said...

ah, so you are a karela snob :)

km said...

This comes a little late, but you didn't *have* to link to a story involving a lizard squashed in a sugarcane pressing machine. But you did.

UGGGH.

Space Bar said...

km: what's a karela snob?

actually, i might well be one. i hate the way these north indians (and apologies for the lumping together like this) make it: first they scrape everything on the outside; then they eviscerate the karela, rub salt in its wounds, stuff it and bind it with thread then fry the bejabbers out of it. and then feel very pleased that they're eating bitter. huh.

and you won't believe me if i tell you i barely registered the lizard, will you? :D

km said...

karela snob: one who deems herself superior to others because she has a higher bitterness quotient :)

fiercepothead said...

by the time,you grow old, i guess you sense of harmony is gone totally and dissonace starts to rule,combined with the oppurtunity to take a 'sustained look' at you approaching death. so no wonder bitterness appeals and reflects in taste.
'these north indians' don't 'feel pleased they are eating bitter' when they make the karela they do. they do so coz its tastes good. this is genuine karela snobbery.