Last weekend we went for tapas. Unable to decide what starter we wanted, we went for a mixed sharing platter of meats and cheeses.
One of the items on a platter meant for two was three small squares of a rather purple substance that looked like jelly to me, but well, it was meat coloured. It was fairly translucent but, not knowing what it was, I couldn’t get past the fact that this was meat, perhaps maybe a thicker type of carpaccio.
So I gave it a try. It was a little bit grainy and it was tangy. If this was meat, it wasn’t good. The flavour was so unexpected that I went to my standard carpaccio tactics and swallowed it as quickly as possible.
Turns out that it was something called Membrillo, a popular Spanish paste made from quince and served with Manchego cheese. Quince is is the sole member of the genus Cydonia. It’s a hard fruit that looks like a cross between an apple and a pear. Most varieties are only eaten cooked. They cook up pink and have a wonderful sweet floral aroma. Like apples and pears, they’re in season during the autumn.
As a fruit, especially as a fruit with cheese, it was really nice. Apparently it’s the national snack of Spain, it’s that nice. As meat, it was awful.
I think we’ve all been in situations we didn’t quite understand. I was talking to someone the other night and a situation came up from years ago around a conversation about plates. Someone I knew sent me a link to plates. Apparently we’d spoken about them a few weeks before, and she thought she was doing me a favour sending me the link. A few things were said (over text), I got a bit sarcastic and attempted witty about things and the whole thing ended with me having to check that we were having a genuine argument, because I wasn’t. I wouldn’t have been sarcastic or witty had I have realised the actual circumstances.
I’ve been in circumstances where another person was ambivalent, blowing hot and cold on an opportunity, and then wonders why I didn’t take a chance allegedly being offered. The reason wasn’t that I wasn’t interested, but that I didn’t realise it was there because I didn’t realise the situation I was in. To compound matters, my reaction to a situation I didn’t realise was in was then used to define me.
It’s not a positive thing to judge someone – yourself, even – by what happens to them, especially in one off situations. People make mistakes and make bad decisions, especially when they don’t quite understand what is going on. It’s only really when it gets to the end that it turns out that neither party understood everything that was happening in front of them.
We all learn from experience, and we all have strengths that manifest in different ways. When it manifests as fruity flavours with cheese, those strengths are kind of awesome.