Friday, April 29, 2005

postal scrotum: Nutella redux

This is part of an email that came in from a good friend of mine:

Nutella-- the unexpected taste.

I have seen Nutella for sale many times. Two of my local grocery store chains stock it. Nevertheless, I have never purchased a sample because the name seemed stupid to me. Given that there are so many food items to buy and try, I sometimes make decisions based upon no good reason, and this was a poor enough reason to be good enough for me.

After reading your post about the aforementioned food-like item, I decided to reconsider my previous lack of consideration and give it a try. I began by acquiring a small jar of Nutella and some plain wheat bread. I do not much care for refined white sandwich bread and processed wheat has enough flavour to be tasty, yet is mild enough not to impair or mitigate the flavour of a food-like topping. After smearing a generous helping of brown mystery goo upon a slice of bread, I bravely chomped away.

The delightful taste that filled my mouth was almost shocking. Not because of its nutty yet chocolatey flavour, nor for any other quality instrinsic to the substance was I caught by surprise. I was surprised because I knew this taste, and knew it well. As a wee lad living for four years in the Germanies, I had eaten this.

I speculate that the flavours that one encounters as a child, when the palate is virginal and untrained, are burned somehow into the bestial hindbrain. Those items which assault and offend the youthful palate become repulsive on a fundamental level to the adult. Similarly, those things which were pleasurable to the youthful palate become ingrained in such a way that they are instantly recognised after decades of absence.

So it was with me and my Nutella experiment. The taste of it sent electrochemical pulses ringing through sensorial and memory lobes of my brain, dislodging the dust of years in their passing and uncovering for me one of the rare treasures of my childhood-- a happy memory.

You have my heartfelt thanks, good sir.


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