Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Paen to Smokey Nonsense ...

For some reason, I'm drawn to smoky food and scents. My favorite Scotch whiskies are Laphroaig and Lagavulin. Both are, and are known for, their smokey, peaty flavor and aroma. While I enjoy a really good Tequila, given a choice between a moderate Mezcal and an excellent Tequila, I'm drawn more to the Mezcal. I've yet to find a Bourbon or Rye that gives me quite the same pleasure.

I don't own a barbeque grill - I have a Big Green Egg smoker/griller. I've never used it for simple grilling. My wife likes the smokey quality of the meat and vegetables it produces. In our house, it's the closest she lets me come to working in the kitchen - outside. I have an older model that doesn't have all the fancy stuff you'll find on their site. What else would you expect from a curmudgeon?

Yesterday, after several months hankering for it, I bought a tin of Lapsang Souchong tea. This morning, savoring the fine, camp fire like, smokiness of the tea, I'm writing this post. When describing this tea to others, the best descriptor I can come up with is "like a camp fire". Almost everyone comprehends that - few can quite understand why I like it.

Actually, even I don't completely comprehend why. The only thing that comes to mind for me is that it always evokes a flash of my youth. It's not a long drawn out memory - it's just an image that pops up and then disappears like one of those silly "whack-a--mole" games. The mole pops up when I first smell the tea (or the whiskey), then disappears. It doesn't come up again that day, regardless of how much tea or spirits I imbibe that day. A few days later, with my first sip of the day, it's there then gone again.

When I was eleven, my parents bought a new house in our home county of San Diego. I don't know if was an un-incorporated part of the city or not. I just remember it being surrounded by tons of open space, and next to the largest mountain (Cowles Mt.) in San Diego. My friends and I would often go out for an over-night camping trip to one of the canyons in the area. The image that always comes to mind is me and my friends, sitting around the camp fire, eating our canned "Chili & Beans", and  talking about nonsense...