Caution in proportion

I am a naturally cautious person. I have been a wimp since childhood. If visitors came to visit, even relatives, nobody would need to look further than behind my mum to see me peeking out from the folds of her floral dresses. Scared of roller-coasters, heights, the gross blue things on the inside of your wrists, I wasn’t the child most likely to volunteer to take part in a sky dive.

I had a similarly wary approach towards food. Anything vaguely unfamiliar resulted in what felt like hours sitting at the kitchen table whilst Mum cajoled, persuaded and eventually bribed my sister and I to eat whatever innocuous thing we were irrationally fearful of putting in our mouths. Things with lumps in it. Food which had changed state. You can imagine what the sight of a steaming apple crumble would have done to our nerves. Nowadays, as I have mentioned, any food stuff I don’t like is now perceived as a challenge to make myself like. I eat almost anything, regardless of expiry date, appearance or how long it has been on the floor for.

Nowadays, I like to try concoctions that I haven’t tried before. Obviously this is a little difficult at university when I rotate through 12 different ingredients every week. Yes, mushrooms, onion and peas work just as well in a curry sauce as a tomato sauce. At home, however, creative juices can start flowing.

And flow they did, the other lunch time. Having not had scramby eggs in a while, I didn’t want to have just scramby old eggs. An addition of sundried tomatoes: oooo. Aroma: rich and warming. Colour: red plus pale gold makes a tentative stab towards a melange of autumn and winter colours. We need a dark brown. We need a texture that’s rough but will concede the presence of the fluffy, smudgy scrambled egg. This is where ordinary bread won’t do and this is where rye bread comes in.

Rye bread: something everybody has the right to be suspicious about. Sold in compact packages and carrying associations of weird health foods and endurance. The times I had tried it I had been met with the uncomfortable sensation of eating dirt. Dry, crumbly, odd taste.

This time, I put it in the toaster. It came out warm in the centre with a slight crisp on the outside. When the scrambled egg/sundried tommys slid onto its surface, the rye bread absorbed the moisture beautifully. Thus the egg and the ryebread combined beautifully, in texture and taste. The nuttiness of the bread, the bland comfort of the egg and the intensity of the tomatoes created a mix of flavours that honestly blew me away.

Caution saves ourselves from mistakes, but if you throw caution to the wind you can elicit wondrous results. Of course there are limits. Not being realistic about the risks involves makes you vulnerable to your own weaknesses. That’s why food is great. You risk a bad mouthful of food and that is it.

I’ve grown braver. Still afraid of the gross blue things on the inside of your wrists, though.


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