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Sep 05

Food Science Day 7: b-b-but is it SOPORIFIC*?

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 717 views

AIM: To examine whether Beatrix Potter named Ginger and Pickles, her least-known children’s book, after her favourite condiment.

APPARATUS: Chopping board, sharp knife, small bowl

INGREDIENTS: fresh ginger, gherkins.

METHOD: Obviously gherkins are not the only pickle possible, but we had to start our exploration somewhere. Different brands of gherkin have widely varying flavours, also (so I carefully wrote the specific brand-name in my notes, only I left these at Tim’s house at the end of the FSD, and he cannot read apparently)**. Anyway, peel ginger and chop into tiny cubes; chop pickles (=gherkins) tiny also. Mix and serve.

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RESULTS: The above is all very easily done: as a POTENTIAL condiment, Ginger and Pickles is off to a flying start. The Taste Test then revealed something quite unexpected: the flavours of fresh ginger and [insert name here] brand gherkins TOTALLY CANCEL OUT, leaving only the sensations (ie ginger’s pepperiness is still present, but you can’t TASTE it any more). However, one respondent, Mr T.Ewing – who apparently dislikes both ginger and pickle separately – hotly denied this observation: he could taste both, and hence disliked the combo doubly. However people with normal opinions may consider this an outlier response of small consequence and less sense.

CONCLUSION: Ginger and Pickles imparts sensation to eating, so can clearly operate as a condiment. Was it B.Potter’s favourite? Some context is certainly necessary here: the story of Ginger and Picklesis set in her own village, only slightly disguised – the cat Ginger and the dog Pickles run a little shop together, where everyone buys on credit (at Tabitha Twitchet’s rival outlet, which is less popular, you have to pay at point of purchase). Soon the shop is forced to close. The End. On the closing page, Potter writes, “Ginger and Pickles have moved away from the village. Some people think they have not moved far enough away” (my emphasis). Which suggests it might NOT have been a condiment she favoured, at that.

*(old-skool Peter Rabbit gag)
**(Let alone buy salt)

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