Secrets of taste
A stroll through the history of the most beloved ingredients
Think of South American cuisine and razor clams are not likely to be the first thing that will spring to mind – especially when the continent’s litany of colourful street food, grilled meats, stews, salads and soups are so well-‐known. But the region’s seafood and, in particular, its razor clams –“navajas” or “navajuelas” in Spanish-‐speaking countries – are one of continent’s best-‐kept secrets.
Confucius, the ancient Chinese philosopher born in 551 BC, was something of a foodie. In his famous Analects, a collection of his sayings and ideas, he outlined some rules to eating that wouldn’t look out of place today.
Eat only at mealtimes, he advocated. Know the source of your food, eat meat in moderation, eat only food that is in season and do not drink to excess. All very modern.
Eating oysters, the French poet Léon-Paul Fargue once said, was “like kissing the sea on the lips”. Anyone who has consumed one of said molluscs will know exactly what he meant. The salty, slightly sour ozone taste of a freshly shucked oyster contains the distilled essence of the ocean.