stories

Saving the best till last: tastes that form at the end of your plate

left: original artwork, right: the tea towel itself (creased, stained and used)
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Do you eat the best bits first or save the best bite till last? Do you pace yourself, constructing each mouthful into an even balance of the components on your plate until the end? Some parts of a meal are best saved till last - too good to be disguised by a different taste - sometimes you can discover a taste or texture that’s only revealed once you’ve eaten the rest of the food.

A roast dinner presents a plate of complex decisions to be made - you can’t fit a little of everything on your plate into each forkful (can you?), so we're familiar with the best combinations that don't leave us with elements that don’t provide the best last-taste for your last bite. I leave the peas till last, adding a little extra gravy to bring together the broken up remaining bits of potato, yorkshire and broccoli florets with the peas.

One of the simplest and most reliable last bits is garlic bread and pizza crusts, saved till the end in order to ‘fare la scarpetta’ (an Italian idiom roughly translating as ‘to make a little shoe’); the act of using the last bit of bread used to mop up leftover sauce from your plate.

A samosa from an Indian takeaway tastes good as a starter, but leaving half of it to shuffle around your plate as you eat, allowing it to soak up some of the dal and saag becomes the perfect mix of crunchy, soft and satisfyingly chewy.

Lots of sweets lend themselves to deconstruction; there are those who eat the caramel from the top of a Twix first, though I’d rather not start with the caramel and be left with the comparatively bland biscuit base to finish (and trying to eat the base first is a messy job). I pick out all the peanuts from a Barratts Jumbo Soft Nougat and save the pink side till last. There are endless ways to eat a Creme Egg, leaving a last bite which contains both fondant and chocolate is not easily executed.

When I get to the end of a bag of chip-shop chips, I’ll eat the crunchy ones first, try to eat all the ones which could be undercooked or slightly green-tasting, and save the slightly plumper ones which are slightly soggy with vinegar and have caught most of the salt for my last bite.