It surely is the most captivating of all culinary questions. Certainly, it is the one which is asked universally and frequently. Last month in this column I thought to expand on the “Pleasure” part of Palate Pleasures; now it is time to explore the “Palate” … “If you were stuck on a desert island and had to choose one dish/type of cuisine to eat for the rest of your days, what would it be?”
Naturally, there are many variations of this query, but the gist of it always remains constant – which particular item of food you couldn’t possibly live without, the one that you would be least likely to tire of (such is the extreme fondness you have for it), and the sole survivor after a harrowing process of elimination and agonising soul searching.
For some the choice is a no-brainer – as in a clear-cut winner immediately springs to mind of a firm and unshakeable favourite. This is one circumstance where the hankering for the simple things can work in your favour – Mum’s roast, or a great chicken schnnitty might effortlessly become the ticket to island-life contentment.
But for others, the narrowing down of an extensive list of much loved foods can prove too agonising to bear.
Fact is, there is an infinite amount of delicious dishes in the world, ditto scrumptious offerings from every corner of the globe … how can you possibly even begin to decide?
Vietnamese, Mexican, Thai, the dish you order every time you go to your favourite restaurant, spaghetti with prawns, garlic and chilli, foie gras or ramen? What will it be … you only have one!
Clearly falling into the latter category, it is virtually impossible to come to a decision.
Luckily though, this is an entirely whimsical question without any basis in reality whatsoever, but what is really interesting is that such is the gravitational pull of food to capture our imaginations as well as our stomachs, to have this question be one that most of us are very familiar with.
It’s one that highlights our extreme passion for food – which dish couldn’t we live without? Yet, it also signals our diversity – our great food loves are as unique and individual as we are. Someone’s desert island delight might be another’s trip to food hell.
And to even vaguely consider the notion that familiarity could breed contempt? No way, you might think, “I would never, ever get sick of tacos/minestrone/ or pad Thai”.
Not to mention the nutritional deficiencies of an imbalanced diet …
But again, we must remember that this notion is entirely fanciful, yet it still might make us salivate at the thought of our most coveted cuisine.
And think about food in that dreamy way that magically transports us to another time and place, in the same way that spending all that time scrolling through the food porn on Instagram does …
Because, let’s face facts here – when we are not consuming or preparing food, we are usually thinking about it. Actually, that’s not right either – while we are eating or cooking, we are still thinking – about the next meal!
What it all comes down to is as simple as can be – we eat to live and live to eat! Recipe for good living right there …