Maybe thinking back I can understand where my interest in cooking started. I spent my childhood being engrossed in books like Famous Five, Secret Seven, Malory Towers, St Clare's. Most of the time I used to think I was a sleuth myself and went about solving mysteries. Now don't ask me what they were. It won't fit this post and one person would be really wild that I spoiled the fun by talking more about something else than the topic on hand.
Yes, coming back to my interest in food, I loved these books as much for the thrill they gave but more because of the strange but tempting food that those kids ate. The below excerpts from 'Upper Fourth at Malory Towers' would explain better!
Tongue sandwiches with lettuce, hard-boiled eggs to eat with bread-and-butter, great chunks of new-made cream cheese, potted meat, ripe tomatoes are grown in Mrs. Lucy's brother's greenhouse, gingerbread cake fresh from the oven, shortbread, a great fruit cake with almonds crowding the top, biscuits of all kinds and six jam sandwiches!
Now I didn't know what lettuce was then. But imagine your mind running wild thinking how that taste would be. The author was so clever in getting the interest of the reader by including dishes that sound so exotic, even now to me.
Then in my first year of college, we had 'The importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar Wilde. This has the famous character Algernon, who I sadly tried imitating for some months. The opening scene has Algernon talking to his manservant about cucumber sandwiches. And that caught my attention. Few scenes in fact revolved around the cucumber sandwich and the frustration of the character not able to finally eat them is so funny. Imagine a room with 40+ young girls jammed in a room on a hot summer afternoon and all they can get to hear is about some fellow's obsession with a cucumber sandwich. My friends thought they had better things to do!
This was new to me. Going back home, the first thing I remember making was a cucumber sandwich for myself. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Since then, I have always made these sandwiches with cheese slices, and every time I remember that afternoon in my first-year classroom. It's strange how small facts like these stay forever in our minds. But then I guess, we are strange creatures!
Do read the novel, it is one fine piece of art!
But best of all was the movie "Ratatouille" This was really so moving as we feel the same!
It is the conversation between Remy and Emile.
Remy: Hey, I brought you something to...
[sees Emile eating garbage]
Remy: AH! NO, NO, NO, NO! SPIT THAT OUT RIGHT NOW!
Remy: I have got to teach you about food. Close your eyes.
[Emile obeys; Remy hands out a piece of cheese]
Remy: Now take a bite of this...
[Emile snarfs the cheese]
Remy: No, no, no! Don't just hork it down!
Emile: Too late.