Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Nose Knows

Every so often when it blows really hard outside, the wind will carry down the scent of halal fried chicken from the shop up the road, causing my ears to prick up and my hunting dog instincts to rise to the surface. I'm normally a pacifist through and through (if I'd had a vote this week, it wouldn't have gone to Tony), but there's something about the smell of deep-fried meat that just makes my doggy hormones go all a-whizz.

I suppose it's that old nature vs. nurture argument again, isn't it? Though I've been brought up indoors, surrounded only by human art and artifice (we did have an orchid plant in the flat once, but it died in less than a fortnight) I still have a wild element that occasionally makes me want to go and gnaw on Mistress' toes.

The philosophy du jour seems to be: the better we eat, the better we feel and behave. Behold Morgan Spurlock and Mr Oliver. Not that I'm dissing them by any means; I watched them both on the telly religiously when they were on recently and admire them very much. But on a macro level, do their theories really hold?

Think of the great nation states over the last couple of centuries. If food has a direct relationship to behaviour, as purported by formulae such as fresh plus natural equals calm and behaved, or fatty and stodgy equals, well, fatty and stodgy, then shouldn't certain other food-body equations be true as well? Should fiery and chilli equal fierce and violent, or bland and tasteless become boring and listless? History doesn't reflect this.

For example, how did Britain, a country that considers boiled cabbage soup an acceptable dish, manage to colonise India, home to some of the fiercest curries known to man? Or the French, who on a diet of heart-stopping cheeses and cassoulets, and sugary wines, come to seize control of Vietnam and its chilli-infused cuisine? Then there's Braveheart, possibly the scariest Scotsman that ever lived, fearlessly fighting tooth and nail on a diet of porridge, for goodness' sake.

Consider also Mistress, who slurps coffee by the litre and scarfs chocolate by the handful, yet the only thing I've ever seen her hit was a piece of sirloin she was trying to tenderise.

In the end, nature wins, paws down. I'm not just saying that to excuse my occasional bad behaviour; for instance I could have refrained from laddering Mistress' tights yesterday by using them as a bungy rope. I simply chose not to. But when confronted with extreme situations in life your instincts do take over. I mean, if you're really hungry and a nice, big, tasty-looking piece of meat is sitting right in front of you, you'd have to be completely coco-loco not to reach out and grab it, even if it's not the done thing. Just ask Sigfried and Roy's tigers. In my opinion, the only unbelievable thing is that they didn't do it sooner.


Blogger Natsthename said...

Boiled cabbage soup...YUCK! Of course, we in the states can lay claim to The Big Mac! Aren't you glad we split from you in merry old England?

9:41 PM  

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