Monday, July 5, 2010

Pudding, Anyone?

(Still Life, Cornelius de Heem, 1600's, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio)

Recently, I have been fantasizing about the gastronomical delights we have enjoyed in Europe.

If you can't dredge up any other reason to go across the pond other than food, believe me, that's reason enough to go.

I could have taken a long, leisurely bath in the creme brulee we devoured in Paris.

Why shouldn't my bodily pores indulge themselves too?

There was the lighter-than-air chocolate mouse I yummed up at the Louvre.

Every single time we eat there I order it.

And every single time I enjoy it more than I ever have before.

I never think about the Louvre without coveting the divine cheese wedges that never fail to tickle my taste buds.

Not much on earth makes me forget about the glories of art.

But those cheese wedges have the power to do it!

The fresh spinach sauté in Milan?

Bring it on!

The shrimp scampi in Venice?

Simply the best I've ever tasted.

The fresh baked, moist and fluffy croissants in London of all places?

Oh, the wonder of it all as the flaky dough melts on my tongue!

The black pudding in Cheltenham?

Not so much.

First of all, who in their right mind would seriously label a pudding "black?"

I can think of a lot of things that should be labeled "black."

Things like ties, tar and, of course, the iconic "little black dress," for instance.

But pudding?

I don't think so.

On that beautiful morning in Cheltenham, Bob and I walked downstairs to breakfast in the posh dining room of our small hotel.

It had been a long time - that means never - since we had enjoyed breakfast in a room dripping with crystal chandeliers, sparkling goblets and white linen tablecloths.

Bob and I studied the menu and then decided on the "full traditional English breakfast."

This feast included an assortment of juices, scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, baked beans, freshly sliced tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, black pudding and toast with orange marmalade.

While waiting for this harvest of food to arrive, I gazed at my girth and then at the width of the dining room's entry door.

I simply wasn't sure if I would be able to crawl - I knew that walking would be out of the question - through that spacious opening after I had consumed this British breakfast.

But I decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it!

A short while later, our server arrived with our breakfast plates laden upon her arms.

I asked the young woman to tell me the ingredients in the black pudding.

She sweetly ignored my request and urged me to try it.

In the spirit of preserving good international relations, I almost succumbed to her coy suggestion.

But then I vaguely remembered reading somewhere that black pudding was made from some sort of animal innards.

Please believe me when I tell you this - there was not going to be one chance in The Hot Place that I was going to let that stuff touch my lips let alone my precious stomach.

Just then "Bob The Brave" chomped down on a bite of his pudding.

I casually inquired, "How is it?"

He looked at me with his piercing blue eyes and said, "It's bad."

In Bob-ese, the word "bad" - when used in a food context - translates to "this is the most vile tasting stuff that's ever entered my mouth."

So my instincts had been right.

Later, we discovered that "black pudding" is just another term for "blood sausage."

Because I had not yet ingested enough fat, sugar and salt grams in my traditional English breakfast - minus the black pudding - I decided to order a cup of hot chocolate with cream.

While sipping my hot chocolate, I instructed Bob to go to the front desk and reserve an ambulance........

just in case the cream in my warm cocoa had put me over my day's fat gram limit and caused me to need an emergency quadruple by-pass.

In the meantime?

The creamy hot chocolate tasted sublime as it splashed on my tongue and trickled down my throat.

Some things in life are simply worth the risk.

Please note:

In the interest of maintaining the emotional health and gastro-intestinal welfare of my readers, all recipes for "black pudding" and "blood sausage" have been banished from this blog until life as we know it is over - perhaps longer.

1 comment:

  1. I love it when I hear Bob's voice in your blog posts. I can hear the dialog between the two of you as if I am sitting right there! Great writing.