Today for lunch I ate cold pepperoni pizza and a chocolate dipped cupcake while I held the baby. As I savored the crumbs of moist cake that stuck to my fingers I remarked to Alex that it felt like a party. Years of birthday parties with pizza and cake were ingrained into my psyche so that even this unorthodox version still made me feel vaguely celebratory as I enjoyed it. My lunch had the upside of not being accompanied by the inevitable small dramas and upsets that occur at any children's party. On the other hand there were no presents or goody bags at the end of my meal. It was a fleeting pleasure that made me think of parties to come as Amaya slowly comes of age.
We've been working on a couple of projects, one about vegetarian cooking. The idea is to create luxurious vegetarian food. My own caveat to this goal is the need to use everyday ingredients so that the dishes are easily accessible and enjoyed. To this end we were talking about texture. Smooth, creamy textures, whether hot or cold, tend to feel luxurious. Much in the same way that silks and satins against the skin feel indulgent, rich textures on the palate make the dinner feel coddled and cosseted. There needs to be contrast and texture certainly, to awaken the senses and allow the brain and the tongue to participate in the experience, it was just the realization that luxury can be about more than simply ingredients, it can be the way a chef uses the ingredients to evoke emotion.
Both memory and texture came into play in my thought processes. Actual dishes or combinations can create an experience, like cupcakes and pizza. It makes me wonder, what food combinations resonate for you? What textures make you feel luxurious?