Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Matter of Taste

It’s beyond coincidence that Esa Pekka Salonen and I left our regular jobs at the same time -- he as conductor of the LA Philharmonic, and I as, as (oh, pardon, something caught in my throat. Back in a second).

Where was I? Oh yes, we’ve always had much in common. We both have a penchant for jeans and ski sweaters. We both, at some point in our artistic journeys, played the clarinet. We also have a cute little way of tossing the hair out of our eyes so that it just falls back in the eyes again. Then you get to do this flirty little toss-fall, toss-fall, toss-fall … until someone slaps you.

My dad never considered Finns true Scandinavians, unless it was convenient. For example, Matti Ensio Nykänen, the Flying Finn of ski jumping, was; the drunks who passed out and died of hypothermia on Helsinki streets were not. Einojuhani Rautavaara was, the Takkenuns weren’t… I could go on, but for heaven’s sakes, name a few famous Finns off the top of your head, and you can guess into which category they fall.

But back to Esa, there’s also the cheese thing. We both eat it. Wish we could have gotten together before he left LA. Split a Limburger. I have a taste for stinky cheese. Cheese that smells like three kinds of hell inside a dead cow’s stomach that has been wrapped in rotting tuna and left in a South Florida morgue where the air-conditioning is on the blink. Never mind about that. Concentrate on the taste – stinky cheese is wonderfully creamy and nutty and pungent.

And while I’m confessing peculiar tastes, might as well admit to blood sausage. For the uninitiated, blood sausage is exactly as it sounds; you eat it hot with melted butter. And unless you want neighbors to say you have terminal gingivitis (or worse), brush your teeth before taking that evening walk.

I have many questionable tastes. In animals, in decorating, in cheese, in men;
many of which should be enjoyed far away from home. Once they get in the house, you have to rebuild. Or move.

52 comments:

  1. today you told me more about yourself than I wanted to know.....! :)

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  2. I've been looking all over for that cow stomach.

    GG

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  3. Well I've gone right off dinner.

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  4. I love blood sausage, and blood pudding. Both of which I had in Scotland, for breakfast. Something about stinky keeps folks warm around the North Sea....

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  5. Leave the man on the porch with some Gravlaks.
    PS. I remember those drunks in Helsinki from the 70s. People just stepped over them. I'd be drunk too if I had to live through all those dark nights.

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  6. I'll finish your thought 4 U, KB, while you clear that sausage full of blood out of your mouth:
    "...and me, as conductor of the LA Times classified good humor department."

    I just had a rich chocolate tart. That went down w/o a problem.

    Nevertheless, I have some questionable tastes as well. Luckily, none include de KB.

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  7. Coincidently, much of "Sweet Tundra of Death" was filmed in Finland.

    True Story.

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  8. Blood sausage...where can one find this in LA?

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  9. K -- the Finns are noted for their comedies.

    Amy, if you really care, Shreiners in Glendale stocks my guilty pleasure.

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  10. I read more about it, It sounds interesting - I would try it twice...

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  11. But then Amy, you'll also climb 1000 feet up the face of a rock, so I'm not surprised.

    Bellis: We want some Finland stories.

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  12. This is a hoot. As is Ken Mac's comment.
    Schreiners in Glendale? Is that the same as the one in Montrose, next to Berolina's?

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  13. As always, I bow to D's superior knowledge and spelling, as well as KM's humor, and CO's for that matter. Well, can't stand here bowing all night.

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  14. I love it, Ken Mac, that you look like you're holding your nose, and Daffy Duck/Wayne, I hear you babe...

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  15. In this case, I'm going to have to side with my unworthy dining companions and say ixnay on ausageau, but I have no objections to heesechay

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  16. I may not have suffered through blood sausage but I always thought "Tom of Finland" was kitchy fun.....I'm guessing your father wouldn't care to claim him as a Scandinavian.

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  17. You had me at 'dead cow's stomach'...

    {Seriously, though, you crack me up.}

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  18. Everybody's going for the food stuff in the comments. I went for what totally sounds like a crush announcement, Karin. Not knowing Mr. Salonen from a hole in the ground, I googled him, just to get a sense of other tastes of yours. You know how Google offers "helpful" suggestions as to what you might be searching for based on searches others have done? The number one suggestion was Esa Pekka Salonen wife. He's got one. Sorry.

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  19. And thus, another food blogger is born!

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  20. Still laughing about that description. And Ken and K's comments.

    WV: papheerl (probably some kind of stinky food)

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  21. PA, you shocked me. Tom of Finland indeed. Worse than a cow's stomach.

    And Terri, you're calling into question my love of Prokofiev and all things classical? Just because you can cook a scallop doesn't mean you know everything. (Still, it's a very nice looking scallop.)

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  22. I wasn't feeling all that great yesterday, even before the stinky cheese, so I left off commenting until today. I was going to be all humble because I haven't experienced, let alone acquired a taste for, hot blood sausage with melted butter, but then I remembered the durian. Talk about things which should be enjoyed far away from home.

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  23. Is it just me or does A.H. have a totally new look?

    I like it (the colors are great for your hiking theme) but it's still a major freak-out.

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  24. Are you sure you're not French?

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  25. I don’t think I will comment this menu.

    But,

    Bellis: Have you, after only a few decades in LA, already forgotten the northern summer nights; sweat, bright and long.

    Since you already have brought in Lutefisk and Gravlaks into this discussion, you also could add Smalahove, Rraspeballe (Komle) and Lefse.

    If I give it a thought, I realize, I actually like more of them.

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  26. I wanted to prepare you K; I sent aspirin. (Kind of looks like a brochure for a management conference in Irvine, doesn't it?)

    Jean, I've read about that foul smelling article. Do you really like it?

    all this talk about blood sausage sent me to the shops today. Mwahahaha.

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  27. If the idea of blood sausage isn't palatable try boudin. It's made in La Louisiane and comes in pork or crawfish. It has rice in it and it's a little spicy, just right.

    Nice new look, KB, especially the header.

    wv merlate
    like gourmand instead of gourmet

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  28. I'm glad K mentioned the new look. I was very confused and I don't appreciate that. Where is MY aspirin???

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  29. I think you'd fit right in with my scrambled eggs and brains for breakfast of a mother. Are you sure you're not from the Ozarks? Are you related to my kinfolk?

    Too funny! I love every word of this one!

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  30. Petrea took the words outta my mouth. Yes, you're French from the stinky cheese to the blood sausage. Well I'm proud to say that i did indeed eat some blood sausauge. I've done it and I lived to tell it. That's all I can say. Vive la France and Finland!
    V
    PS my WV is SLICKEN...... I was

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  31. I believe I have more in common with Essa P. S. - for starters, we were born in the same year, and we've both worked at the music center and we've both been to Lucerne where I have eaten blood sausage and I am sure so has he and ... other stuff. Huh!

    (I'm adding this entry to my AH top 10.)

    PS - Dudamel is 28. Sheesh.

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  32. I like the new look, especially how it tosses its hair out of its eyes. Love Salonen. The only other Finns I've heard of are Formula One drivers, hockey players, Lassie Viren and Jorma Kaukonen.

    The rest sounds like haggis to me! Never tried it.

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  33. Those big-time conductors have like nine jobs at a time. Yeah, sure they are with the LA Phil, but then they're adjunct in Stuttgart, and associate in Vienna, not to mention the summer post in Montreal, and the festival in London. Now that I think about it, I guess you have lots of jobs too!

    WV: "frica" as in "frican?" As in "My friend Frica?"

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  34. My grandpa was a Finn...my maiden name was Murman...which in Finland is a bit like Smith in the US...no...I've never had blood sausage, don't like stinky cheese, and never could eat one of those kippered herrings that my dad loved so much...

    Love the new look...very sophisticated!!!

    wv: focil...not quite facile...

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  35. Well, I'm half Finnish and I can say it. Finns aren't Scandinavian! Your dad is right! :D

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  36. My dad liked stinky cheese. Every now and then he'd bring home a limberger or a liederkranz or a camembert and stink up the house. We thought he was showing off.

    In spellchecking this comment, I found out that liederkranz, an American variation of limberger, became extinct in the 1980s.

    May I refer you to stinkycheese.com?

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  37. Aspirin for everyone!

    What a picnic we could have between the lot of us: Blood sausage, bourdin, durian, camembert, and kippers. I'm trying to think what we'd wash it down with.

    Wonder if Esa would drop by.

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  38. Did my studio hallway influence this choice of green? do read your e-mail

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  39. I'll sit on the sidelines, drink crappy wine and eat cheddar. If I'm invited.

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  40. What to wash it all down with? How about a bottle of vodka with a nipple on it.

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  41. V: Don't all bottles of vodka already have those?

    Anyone for stinky, drunk croquet?

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  42. I think one must be drunk to play croquet properly.
    V

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  43. Petrea, can I have some of that cheddar?

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  44. I was just getting ready to put in a comment on ..... then poof!

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  45. Sure, Laurie. I'm bringing water crackers, too.

    My WV is "mismeat." That is just too good.

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  46. AH, it's definitely an acquired taste, but, a few years ago, I was regularly craving durian frozen pops.

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  47. You'd wash it down with plenty of Aquavit, of course!

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