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Tiny delights of food

What are the little things that you find just delightful about food?

Such as:

hearing the meringues crackle as they cool

the way shaved bonito wafts and flutters on hot food

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  1. The "squeetch" in your mouth biting into a whole Jalapeno en escabeche;
    The "spoiikk" of poking into an almost charred sausage on the grill;
    The crunch of cold Fukujinzuke pickled vegetables (followed with hot gohan);
    Maple syrup and butter perfect in quantity and slightly soaked into a hot pancake:
    Stirring your miso soup after the miso has settled;
    The Zen or Gestalt of sashimi from something you've just now pulled from the ocean;
    The grease and aroma of a once and a while eggs-bacon-hash browns... breakfast;
    The appetite for leftovers after cooking large the day before and not having an appetite to eat after all the prep.

    3 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        Often the fish pulled from the ocean isn't even back at port yet before it's eaten. When we go fishing on a 1/2 or 3/4 day boat, my sister and dad will pick up pieces of fish from the filet table and pop them in their mouths. The seaweed acts as a substitute for shoyu. Free, since they're tossing it back into the ocean anyways.

        And boy does it freak little kids out :)

      2. The sound of a good hearth bread cooling - it crackles delicately, like rustling tissue paper.

        The little symphony of pings after canning, when the jars are cooling and sealing.

        The explosion of scent when you first throw garlic and ginger into a hot wok.

        How blanching vegetables turns them jewel bright.

        How when you've made a really good sandwich and served it to someone who isn't expecting a really good sandwich they take the first bite, and then stop and pull the sandwich away and look down at it before taking the next bite.

        1 Reply
        1. re: AnnaEA

          A hearty 2nd to the sandwich serving. They say a sandwich always tastes better from someone else, and I love throwing stuff into one that people might not expect. Something simple like using hummus or pesto instead of mayo or mustard can make people stop mid chew!

        2. Breaking into the crust of a creme brulee. That perfect combination of crunchy and creamy.

          The aroma of a roasting turkey...on Thanksgiving Day or any day.

          The way a perfectly braised roast falls apart, then melts in your mouth.

          The satisfaction of a difficult or new recipe coming out perfectly.

          The way wasabi filters up into your sinuses. Almost gives me a high.

          I love the smell and sound of onions in a saute pan with a bit of butter and oil.

          The smell of yeast in bread dough and the way a lump of flour, water and salt can turn into something heavenly over time. Along the same line, I find kneading very therapeutic.

          The way a perfectly sharp knife will slice through things.

          So many more...

          1. That kind of squeaky hiss that cubed potatoes make when they're roasting and you open the oven to stir them in the pan.

            Diced onions and garlic hitting a hot pan with olive oil in it, and the instantly awesome smell it gives off.

            1. The smell of a vipe ripe Jersey tomatoe
              The crunch of a carrot
              The wiggle of Jello, the jewel like colours, and the smoothness of it going down
              The scent of an orange that lingers on your hands after peeling
              The first stalk of asparagus peeping through the dirt

              1. the smell and bubbling sound of hot coffee, demitasse on the stove

                dishes that become more than the sum of their parts

                how sugar makes things radically different

                the many consistencies of rice and grains, as well as bread

                dumplings- of any kind - the hot soupy first bite, and those that finish the job

                sashimi taught be what sensuality is

                "those who eat together, stay together."

                the amazement when i eat jamon serrano or prosciutto, in that it's raw pork and perfectly preserved (they didn't use to use nitrates) as well as with cheeses that have undergone the aging process - this is milk!

                the delight in that rare perfect piece of fresh fruit, too rare.

                1. In a Chinese restaurant I ordered a sizzling something dish. When she brought it out, she poured it over the rice and it did sizzle and sputter and steam. I hadn't expected that. Then I ate it hot and steaming. And as I slowed down, it got cold and tasted different. So I got to enjoy the sound and sight of it, then the taste of it hot, then the different taste of it cold.

                  1. Working with raw meat, especially large cuts (like a leg of lamb or a rib roast), is a very primal and satisfying feeling. Trimming, rubbing, larding, trussing - the flesh feels so familiar. I find myself giving the meat a little extra pat. It's almost a feeling of reverence.

                    Then, too, is the wonderful rhythm one gets into when making omelets. The wrist flip, the shake of the pan, the perfect slide onto the plate. Then on to the next.

                    1. Slightly warm sushi rice, toasted crispy nori, slightly cold uni and very cold quail egg. The perfect textural, temperature and taste combination in my mind.

                      1. Wow.

                        I love how we responders are talking about sound, and scent and look and feel and appetite.

                        We talk so much about taste on CH ( a good thing, of course), but it's lovely to point out the other senses *absent* the *flavor*.

                        Most of what I have read on this post makes me hungrier than any description I have seen on a menu.

                        1. My favorite thing is to go into a "Food trance." I'll be in a store and find, say a nice piece of meat, or maybe some veggie or fruit, and then I'll get an idea and I start lurching around the store looking at ingredients, running combinations of taste, texture and color through my mind -- I get a LOT of "may I help you's" in the grocery store. Then I go home and put it together, smelling and tasting, adding stuff to balance the tastes out. And when it comes together and really is something special, I'm so happy.

                          1. cracking an egg and finding twin egg yolks

                            caramelizing sugar, watching the bubbles change and being amazed at how dark you can burn it and it still is sweet

                            1. Beating eggs and sugar together. I get excited whenever I read a recipe and it directs me to do that, because the colors and textures are wonderful at all points of the process, from right when you combine them and as you keep beating them.

                              1. i don't get tired of peeling carrots (that's a good thing, i peel zillions) because of the bright orange flesh as it is revealed in strips, a bright orange pile against the white cutting board and the steel table.

                                i make pesto when i am angry or frightened, the smell of the cut and crushed fresh basil leaves is very calming to me and the simple formula just happens with no thought.

                                i like kneading and punching bread dough down, all yeasted dough is alive and lovely to handle.

                                it is so satisfying to unmold something successfully-- bundt cake, tart tatin, pate-- it slips out on the platter just like it's supposed to, beautiful and perfect, and all your work has been for a good purpose which you can now admire like a newborn.

                                i love the way the vegetables in mirepoix shimmer and seem to glow right at the moment when they are just cooked enough to accept the addition of hot broth, they are at the last moment when they are still themselves, the instant before they become part of soup

                                it is good to see someone eat something for the first time when you've been cooking it for years and are sick of it-- oh yeah, that's right, i'm good at this.

                                1. Putting some butter in a cast iron skillet and adding chopped onions and green peppers. Once they start poppin' and sizzlin' and smellin' up the joint, you're off to a good start, no matter what else you put in there.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: yayadave

                                    Shallots browning in butter is my most favorite smell in the world. Throw in a bit of thyme and I'm in in heaven.

                                  2. There is a window of time when bread is perfectly ready to come out of the oven. It is, at most, a few minutes. There is a smell, right at the beginning of this window, that indicates the bread is ready. It is subtle--sort of like a faint caramel. In that moment, when that fragrance reaches my nose, my heart quickens! Be it a biscuit, a baguette or a batard, that fragrance brings such tremendous delight!

                                    1. waking up on a weekend morning to the sound of someone washing the dishes, stepping out the bedroom door and realizing the running water sound is actually the sound of frying bacon....yes!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: rebs

                                        Ah, the bacon alarm! On Saturdays when I can sleep in and my Hub has the run of the kitchen, he will often make a bacon quiche. How can one sleep with that smell? It's like the old cartoons and the animated fingers of aroma that come to lead a character to his/her doom! Not that I'm complaining - it is a delight. Weighed against another hour of sleep? Eh - I'll take the quiche. I second your "Yes!"

                                        1. re: cayjohan

                                          how sweet. i want a husband that makes me bacon quiche on weekend mornings.

                                      2. I truly love the sound baby spinach, just washed and slightly dried, hitting the garlic infused olive oil in a big pot. The way it smells, the way it cooks down, down, down. And then the sputter of lemon juice hitting it right before serving.

                                        Or the crackle of mushrooms hitting plenty of butter and cooking them crisp... not soft... wow. What a smell. So sensuous.

                                        Creaming butter and sugar together. Adding vanilla.

                                        Cutting into a bubbly lasange. The pop. The waft. Then pouring a little extra meat sauce onto it and grating some fresh parmesan or romano. Watching it melt.

                                        I've got a million of them. These are my favorites.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: bryan

                                          >Creaming butter and sugar together. Adding vanilla.

                                          ...And fighting off the temptation to just forget about the cookies and eat the whole bowl of that stuff straight up.

                                          1. re: Vexorg

                                            Absolutely !! I ALWAYS have to have a bite of that part... !!

                                        2. Tons of crunchy stinky onions on a great hot dog at the ball park and that "snap" when the skin breaks and the hot juice burns your mouth. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

                                          A beatifully wrapped crunchy Thai lettuce wrap, with tender yet crispy butter lettuce leaves wrapping a sour - sweet -hot&spicy -salty hot meat mixture with cool cilantro and mint, then trying desperately to "hold" all that together and not lose one morsel of it!

                                          My kitchen, with its good smells or garlic and ginger, basil and limes.
                                          All my toys are out, bright red kithcen aid, food processor whirring away, ice cream machine playing its soothing song, honing my chef's knife for a nice edge, and all the ingredients lined up getting ready for a pefect meal getting to hit the the pots and pans and then how the food looks on the crisp white plates, heaven on earth.

                                          A gorgeours pizza margarite topped with bright juicey tomatoes & with basil so pungently fresh I don't have to lean down to smell. Then that cheesey lava flow oozing, silently calling me, and I knowingly bite into a piece, scald my mouth and then holding my mouth open blowing air back and forth over the bite trying to cool it down, makes me so happy.
                                          Patience is for people that eat cold pizza.

                                          Stepping inside after working on the flowers, to a homey smell of navy beans with a hambone. Golden buttery garlic bread with crispy slivers of garlic. Butter squirts and the garlic taste so mellow. So thankful that I love to cook, and give the slice of garlic bread to the Soup God, then bite into that goodness, close my eyes and listen to the
                                          "mmmm" 'mmmmm" noise coming absent mindly from others at the table.

                                          How I am so proud that I can pop a perfect sushi roll, the whole thing, soy dunked/and bathed in wasabi into my mouth whole, not wanting to tear the perfet roll but to enjoy all the components together. And then proudly looking at my husband or sons with wide- eyed wonderment that I accomplised it. Every single time. Messy face, big smile happy happy..joy joy...JOY!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                            the sight of melting butter on a perfectly browned piece of toast.

                                            how buttery mashed potatoes slide down my throat

                                            the smell of cheese melting in the oven or on a toastie in a Breville

                                            the sweet smell of tomatoes frying in a pan

                                            the smell of vine tomatoes when you touch the vine

                                            the satisfying pop of a wine cork or champagne cork

                                            meat cooking on a BBQ, that smokey well doneness of a steak the smoke wafting into your yard.

                                            fresh coffee aroma as you open a new bag.

                                          2. Fresh Silver Queen corn with a pat of sweet butter and a light sprinkle of s&p, scarlet slices of local tomatoes and bright pink, juicy watermelon. The ultimate July 4th feast... the hotdogs and hamburgers are just accompaniments!

                                            1. the smell of lemon grass in my food processor

                                              the smell when I add the vermouth to my dressing--Holidays' Official Start !

                                              breaking the yolk of my poached egg

                                              the sound (and smell) of frying bacon

                                              watching the 'bubbler' on our home made beer

                                              the sharp tingle in your mouth from a good piece of chocolate

                                              caramelizing a brulee--so satisfying!

                                              making a perfect roux

                                              smiles from recipients of my frosted cut out cookies

                                              the anticipation of the sushi that delivers to our house

                                              getting the text message or phone call saying "Come home, I'm making you dinner"

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: spabettie

                                                the bubbler! YES!

                                                & the roux-- having to yell at someone holding the phone at arm's length-- "can't talk now, i can't leave my roux!"

                                                having to put on double layer latex gloves and eye protection before processing huge amounts of scotch bonnet peppers-- makes me feel like i'm making homemade explosive contraband. . .

                                              2. I love how relaxed and in the zone I feel when I am cooking. I don't feel like talking I just want to create.

                                                1. I like the RIIIIIP-snk-GRRRRRRRRRRRL of slicing through a crusty bread.
                                                  I adore the first explosive hissing sizzle of putting a large piece of meat accross a grill.
                                                  I like the sound of drops of fat hitting the charcoal and the tiny puffs of steam and smoke curl up the side of the meat.
                                                  Like cayjohan said, getting wrist deep in a large hunk of meat, to feel the muscle, the fat, the silverskin- to pull membranes off with your hands- there's nothing like it!
                                                  The tink-tink-tink of a heavy pan with the heat blasting- ready to stir-fry or sear.
                                                  I never get tired of watching slices peel off of the chicken or turkey as I carve.
                                                  I love when I hit that little "Zen" spot when dicing things brunoise- where if you think about moving your hand, you will never be as fast or precise as just letting the knife and the board do the work.
                                                  Squeeky Leeks.