Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Now taste!

Ratatouille has become le film du jour.

There's a running bit in the movie that involves tasting one thing -- bread, perhaps -- and then another -- cheese, perhaps. With each nibble, animation appears, showing the character's experience of the taste. Then the character eats both at the same time, and there's a burst of more complex animation that incorporates both the earlier bits. Whole is greater than sum, and all that.


Ulysses and I were sitting on the couch with a plate of cucumber slices, one of his favorite treats. I was watching I don't know what, Countdown with Keith Olberman or something. Suddenly a slice of cucumber was thrust between my teeth. Obediently, I bit into it.

"No, don't hork it down!" said Ulysses, snatching away the cucumber. He was echoing Remy (Ratatouille's central character) trying to educate his rat brother Emil's palate with the line, "No, don't just fork it down! Really taste it!"

The slice reappeared. I took a delicate nibble.

"Yes!" cried Ulysses. "Taste it."

He took the slice away. Then he put it back between my teeth. "Now," he said, "taste this." I nibbled again.

Now he was gleeful, playing up the denoument. He pushed what was left of the cucumber slice into my mouth and crowed, drawing out the first word, "Now taste it!"

Then, stern for a verdict: "Well?"

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