Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Olfactory Memory. Second week at Cilantro.

(no pork served)

For the life of me, don't ask me my address. I do remember my unit number. I don't write letters to myself and the only mode of public transportation I take is the train. Don't ask me for my postcode either, for I don't have an inkling of what it is. . Ditto my office number. Why would I give myself a call? I am totally dependent on my mobile devices. I can give you my 5 email addresses with ease, or my mobile device numbers.

Poached Lobster a la minute with Kyuri and Avruga. Perfection in a mini cocktail glass. A cold starter with some Japanese Cucumber Puree adding a new dimension of freshness to the beautifully poached lobster, drizzled with caviar.

Years ago, there was a French Philosopher and Mathematician by the name of Descartes (who by the way is the same brainy chap who invented Cartesian Points) who doubted his own existence and wrote a book titled Meditations on First Philosophy which contains 6 meditations. He tried to postulate his own existence and the existence of God logically. Descartes validated his own existence with his famous "Je penser, donc je suis". Or in Latin Cogito, Ergo Sum. I think, therefore I am. An updated version of Meditations on First Philosophy v 2.1.0 is I charge my Blackberry, therefore I am. My mobile devices are a sort of validation of my life. My entire life is in my mobile phones. Photos of people that mean a lot to me, my favourite tunes, contact information, encouraging emails from friends and of course, my own address. If I doubt i really exist, I can always call my friends up. The invention of Mobile telephones have negated the Cartesian dilemma of self.

30 minutes of separation from a working mobile network, I start showing separating anxiety. 2 hours without mobile internet service, I will fidget and sweat. Try going to Myanmar for 2 weeks. Upon arrival at Bangkok Airport after the trip, when my mobile showed connectivity to the AIS network, I kissed my phone and wept tears of joy. My happiness was short lived, as a deluge of emails and messages that needed replying left me with regret. I had been idle time at the Burmese capital while indulging in the fragrant yet diabetes inducing tea at the tea shops. I should have been punching my blackberry with vengeance as I was accustomed to if I had been in another country.

Parpadelle Pasta with Crispy Duck and Foie Gras. Very generous portion, and very rich. A very safe pairing of flavours and the Pasta was served in Red Wine Reduction.

There is something about Nations run by crazy despots that make them averse to mobile communications, mobile internet, and criticism. Ever tried data roaming in Burma or North Korea both countries run by self glorifying dictators before? It does not exist. Maybe our Government should take note of that before being too overzealous about internet censorship. But I digress.

We were talking about memory. The only memories that one can recall vividly, without any effort at all would be olfactory memory. Ever notice how certain smells trigger off certain emotions and how we can equate places and people with certain smells? I was asked to send a child to school last week, and when I was there I was hit by a blast of acrid earth, cut grass, stale socks, exercise books, wood and varnish. Unconsciously, the smell of school has been etched deeply into my brain, which the passage of time and space has left greatly intact. I inhaled deeply, and suddenly from the recesses of my mind, forgotten names and faces appeared, my old teachers and classmates whom I have relegated to the deepest part of my psyche refreshed itself without effort. It gave me a sense of calmness and well being plus a yearning to return to a period in my life when I was truly contented and happy.

Our nervous system is built on a series of cells known as neurons which communicate to one another by synapses, without any physical contact at all. One of the characteristics of the neuron is it's inability to regenerate. That is why neurological injuries seldom recover. Paraplegics and Stroke victims are left with permanent residual damage. The only exception to this is the olfactory epithelial cells. These group of neurons regenerates. An old man may lose the sense of sight and smell, but seldom complains of losing the sense of smell.

Sea Bream with Scallop and Zucchini Flower. Perfect for a lunch. The scallop was hidden inside the zucchini flower which was deep fried in batter. An innovative twist, and complimented the fish very well.

Our breathing apparatus directs air to the top of the nose, where our olfactory cells are located. Small tendril like projection of the cells travel up to the base of the brain via sieve like perforations and connect to the olfactory bulb. which connects to different parts of the brain. One of the more interesting connection is the close, two synapse relationship with the Amygdala.

The Amygdala the center of the brain which preforms the function of storing memories related to emotional event, stores long term memory (life long) and deep, primal emotional responses including sex. The confluence of smell, memory and emotion at the Amygdala explains why smell is often an intense trigger for distinct memories and potent emotions.

Slow Roasted Grain Fed Lamb, served with Delphinoise Potatoes and Summer Truffles. If you have to sink in carbs, let the potatoes be the weight. Rich and flavoured with Truffle, it almost overshadowed the beautifully roasted lamb. Cilantro has maintained it's standards so stringently that is ia very rare that you can order a dud item from it's menu.

Who can forget the sensations evoked by The First Kiss? Where desire is culminated by the sensation of warm lips meeting warm lips, with the sword fight of two moist tongues, the grating sensation of teeth sliding over the tongue, like a knife spreading truffle butter over bread. The sensation of warm air blowing out of the nostrils nearby intensifies the long, lingering kiss together with a steady throbbing of an elevated heartbeat....

The missing ingredient is the smell. Metallic, salty, paraffin from the lipstick, a slightly malodorous after note from the putrefaction of food particles stuck between teeth, spearmint from the chewing gum with a waft of musk, the smell of desire.

What was the smell of your first kiss?

The fact is, smell complements a lot of experiences. Try to eat with a blocked nose. Suddenly the food becomes tasteless. Even carnal pleasures are associated with smell. Describing it would render this blog x rated.

Warm Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream. Their version of the classic. The pie was light as air and fluffy as down pillow.

A very clever perfumer by the name of Antoine Lie has created a perfume for Etat Libre de Orange has created sex in a bottle fragrance called "Secretions Magnifique". It is available on line or at Galleries Lafayette, Paris. It has the accord of blood, iris, coconut, sandalwood, adrenaline and smells like cum. Now, why would anybody like to smell as if he ejaculated all over himself in bloody cum defies reason, but if you are interested, you can order it here and read their description of the perfume.

I love perfumes. Fragrances complements certain memories that I kept stored inside my brains. Certain perfumes remind me of places. I don't know why, but Terre by Hermes always reminds me of Seville. Other perfumes remind me of people. Opium by YSL always reminds me of my late mother. And the perfume that reminds me of Cilantro is Comme des Garçons 2. An intriguing scent of Ink, Cedarwood, Cumin, Iris and Angelica Wood among others. A mixture of occidental and orient. A French-Japanese Fusion. Just like Cilantro is.

CDG 2. Unfortunately, unavailable in Malaysia. You might have to source it overseas.

And when you smell a rat all over town, don't worry. You are not alone. With the latest political developments, the smell is pervasive. Only rats cannot smell their own filth and continue to scrummage the last bits of filth from the garbage pile and hoard it. As we wait for a Pied Piper to lead the rats to drown, let us be cautious too, as the Piper might steal our children away.

Have a nice week ahead, folks! Will be away for a week. Ciao!

(all shots taken with my Canon 50mm f1.8 lens)


J said...

What a post.
With mentions of everything from addiction (to mobile devices), exotic locations, desire (sex even!) and bloody cum?
(And such tantalising food photos too.... What a start to my Tuesday morning! LOL....)

Baby Sumo said...

I linked your post to my Cilantro entry. Hope you don't mind.

Considering getting a macro lens after seeing your photos.

thule a.k.a leo said...

How much that you paid for the 50mm lens?? I understand that it cost only a few hundred ringgit, is that true? Love the pictures that you took with your new Canon 550D...

Paranoid Android said...

@J: You are always so early. I need to give you a special award. :D

@Baby Sumo: It's ok. No worries. This was not the Macro. It was the prime lens. My Macro behaves like an old lady with cataracts when the lighting is sub optimal. It works at Sage, but not Cilantro. :(

Paranoid Android said...

@Thule: Hi bro! Yes. The 50mm f1.8 is only RM 290. But the 50mm f1.4 is RM 1,380. LOL. What a world of difference. It is an ok lens, a bit plasticky but does it's job fairly well.

Still have not decided to get the Sigma f1.4 (a whopping 2k!) or the Canon f1.4. No hurry. For the time being I am still happy with the cheapo.

sakmongkol AK47 said...

dear PA,

you are our Malaysian Anthony Bordain. enjoy your posts each time.

J said...

Fuyoh. A Special PA Award? - I won't complain...

Does it come with a nice shiny trophy? :)

thule a.k.a leo said...

what a huge different price to pay for a wider aperture lens huh??
But then I think f1.8 is more than enough (well, at least for me).. was thinking of getting a DSLR but then it's too bulky considering that I have a bigger thing to carry (like a BABY).
I'm checking out the new Canon Ixus 300 HS... DSLR features in a compact digical body. The aperture value is f2.0 which is great considering most digital camera come with f2.8! Also it suit my style coz I'm not really a professional photographer.

Thailand Club said...

Cilantro described as Comme des Garcons! soon addict to it ..

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

i m not sure if cilantro is going to have the same effect too me, but i am going to try this friday!

CUMI & CIKI said...

i take claim of the pasta shot! chis:P

oh, thx PA, i need NEVER blog cilantro again bcoz no one is ever gonna read my post .. not after ur killer post and even more mad killer macro shots! v cool dude.

Paranoid Android said...

@Sakmongkol: Dear Dato Sak. Thanks for your encouraging comment! Your blog has always inspired me, and I count you as one of the great citizens of Malaysia who is able to speak without fear or favour. A rational and thinking Politician. And certainly to me, you tower among your colleagues.

Paranoid Android said...

@J: LOL. Nothing shiny, but something edible should be more practical.

@Thule: I think that is quite a good buy. You are right. Weight and size is a pain for DSLRs. I have not told you what a 50mm f1.2 costs? I nearly got a heart attack. A cool 5,600 smackeroos! Needless to say, that thought has been wiped from my brain.

Paranoid Android said...

@TC: Hee hee! It is an addiction hor?

@Joe: You will find out soon this Friday.

Paranoid Android said...

@Ciki: My muse, my pasta unraveller, my woman in black who provided the excellent black backdrop for the shot! :p

Let's chow down!

in the sea said...

Mmh... again your macro lens is superb! Comme Des Garcons fragrance has a very unique smell and so distinguishing.

in the sea said...

Oops.. these were on the 50mm F1.8. Can't tell it much. Actually I also use the 50mm lens as it's a cheap one but the F1.8 is the point. If you encounter low light with your 60mm F2.8, then increase that optimal light bar to 3. You can turn to advanced mode to Av and change to the maximum 2.8, then to Tv and change it to 1/15 (i.e. 1/15th second shutter speed). Then hold your camera tight and try it and see if the result is ok.

Paranoid Android said...

@Sky: Thanks, friend. Will try it on my next outing! ;)

in the sea said...

BTW, you need to try different TV setting from 1/15 to 1/50 depending on the room light. If taken less than 1/15, you need to hold your camera firm enough to avoid any hand shake. I believe your 60mm lens is not with IS (Image Stabilizer). Actually it's good to practise to hold the camera firm still, regardless of IS function. This way we won't get spoiled with the anti-shaking function. One good way is to hold your deep breath when you are about to press the shutter button.

Paranoid Android said...

@Sky: He he... I should give up coffee then. It gives me the jitters!

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Unless stated otherwise, all the posts and food here is paid for by the Paranoid Android. He dose not receive any financial compensation for posting in this blog. The views expressed here are an opinion and as usual, taste is subjective and varies among people, time and mood as well! Please feel free to contact me at humanist dot philo at gmail dot com. Unless otherwise stated, the photos here belong to the owner of this blog. You are free to use it for any non commercial purpose. As courtesy, just drop me an email and credit the photo to the blog. Thanks for dropping by!

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