Hand to Mouth

misadventures in eating

Archive for February 2009


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I don’t often think about flavor profiles the way the pros do, but I can’t really avoid it when they slap me in the face by being surprising and utterly different.

In the billion years since I last posted here, I’ve moved from my (cozy) hovel in East Williamsburg into a nice walk-up in Queens, and an entirely new culinary world — read: not Italian — exploded with possibilities.  I live a stone’s throw away from a half-dozen excellent Greek restaurants and commendable Thai and some shockingly excellent Indian food — it’s an embarrassment of riches and it’s tragic that what finally got me posting here today was a greek filo desert — flavored with rose water.

Intellectually, I knew that before vanilla was easily obtained and in vogue rose water was a flavoring of choice, but my tongue has grown up with cheap imitation vanilla and the luxuriously good real stuff, in decadent ice creams and cakes, and although I have always hated the perfume-like head of vanilla when it is abused, the kiss of it on your tongue is irresistable and utterly familiar.

Rose water, on the other hand, tastes even more perfume-y.  Obviously, floral, almost plasticky to me, bottled and musty, but it had a coy, alien sweetness to it, and even though the first bite of the rolled baklava was arresting, I kept going back for more, trying to figure out whether or not I liked it.  Maybe it’s like a lot of things, I’m too startled by it to enjoy it, or maybe it’s just too late for me to love any baking flavor other than vanilla.


Written by lshen

February 20, 2009 at 5:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized