I've never had much of a sweet tooth; my cravings have always been savory. When I was a little girl, I'd eat slices of butter - plain, no bread or crackers. (Hey, I don't mess around.) Once I'd finished with one pat I'd ask my parents for another in what became a familiar refrain: "More butter, please."
Then it was onto salty snacks: Cheetos, Ripples potato chips with Sealtest French Onion dip (recently replaced by a luscious Barefoot Contessa recipe), cashews, which I rudely pick out of nut mixes, even at parties - why should I eat the filberts and Brazil nuts when no one else does? And then there's the mecca of savory snacks, the french fry. Food of the Gods' gods, salty, hot, melt-in-your-mouth mouthwatering: I would go to hell and back for french fries. Just ask Mr. Food Musings; his hand has been slapped enough to know that I - Do - Not - Share - French - Fries. Uh-uh. No way.
Rather than feel bogged down by my preference - fine, by my addiction - I've always thought myself far superior to friends who can't live without sugar for more than a few hours. I'd watch in mild disgust as my friend R. would fold stick after stick of chewing gum into her mouth, finishing a jumbo pack of cinnamon within 20 minutes time. When E. would reach for another Swedish fish or Smartie, I'd recoil in horror at the sickening sugary sweetness of it all.
But lately, I'm beginning to wonder if something's changed. See, when a normal person is presented with a fresh and juicy blood orange, they imagine biting in and letting the juices run down their chin, sucking the flesh of the blood-red segments (though not all blood oranges are darkly hued) and reveling in the oh-so-orangey flavor.
Me, I see dessert. As in a lusty little tart topped with a caramel sauce or, if I'm feeling lazy, an orange slice or two. (Hint: click on "lusty little tart" for the recipe.)
Does this mean I've crossed a line? Hmmm. Must make a quick run to McDonald's for fries tomorrow and see.
NOTE: A word on cake plates, transporting tarts to a friend's house and the like. If you, like me, own a cake plate that has sloping sides (what idiot came up with that idea, I'll never know) I recommend NOT putting the empty pie shell onto it, then filling it the next afternoon with chilled orange curd. You know you are doing it all for the sake of vanity so that the photo you take will show a perfect tart, lovingly garnished and set atop a tall platter. Remember that pride goeth before a fall. You will have one heck of a time getting the tart off the sloping cake plate without cracking it into a million little pieces, and you will surely cry (if you are the cook) or get yelled at (if you are the Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Spouse trying to help with 3 types of spatulas) and, despite strategic maneuverings that would surely make NASA and McGyver proud, your tart will, like Humpty Dumpty, need to be put back together again. And your Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Spouse will NOT under any circumstances be able to drive over 25 MPH in the car on the way to the friend's house, for whom all this was done in the first place, and upon arrival you will instruct the friend NOT to look at or, God forbid, touch the tart if they know what's good for them. You will cut it (as if it needed cutting) and serve it in secrecy so that there are no witnesses to your abject failures in the pastry kitchen. When pressed by your friend, you will pretend that things like this don't bother you one whit. See, you are the type to laugh these things off. "Ha ha!" you giggle, weakly, to prove your point while in the background your Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Spouse guards your dirty little secret.