It’s sometimes said that “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Often said by rebellious, erratic, creative types to justify their lack of it, but they needn’t be so defensive; after all, what Emerson actually said was “foolish consistency” –

 A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nothing wrong with consistency when you order a steak medium-rare, or buy hair coloring in a box, or order a dozen of anything from the Internet. The kind of consistency Emerson refers to is the soul-crushing, tedious, bureaucratic consistency that brings the comfort of routine to the “but we’ve always done it this way!” crowd. No one wants surprises when they order a Quarter Pounder with fries.

Each year, on New Year’s Eve, we celebrate with a bottle of champagne and a little caviar. Not the fresh from the Caspian sea caviar like my father in law used to bring us, but a lovely farmed caviar from Bulgaria that we get at Costco. It comes with a little “pearl spoon” (mother-of-pearl, unless they’re into tormenting oysters) and as you can see, I’ve been collecting them for a few years – one at a time. I threw one out by mistake, last year, and was hoping to have four – one for each of us – this year. Unfortunately,this year’s – the largest one, yet – cracked as my husband took it out of the package. But there’s another point to this – and that is that there’s obviously a great variance in the size and color of these little caviar spoons (oh, God – first world problems if ever there were first world problems, eh?). Thing is, that first year’s spoon was pretty. You can see how nicely colored it is:


“Nacre appears iridescent because the thickness of the aragonite platelets is close to the wavelength of visible light. These structures interfere constructively and destructively with different wavelengths of light at different viewing angles, creating structural colours.”

Wikipedia contributors, “Nacre,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed January 3, 2014).

The next one’s kind of pathetic, by comparison. (Did I just call Mother Nature’s artistic lack of consistency “pathetic”? Why yes, I think I did!)  I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why they put a little plastic ice cream tasting spoon from Baskin Robbins in there… but finally decided maybe it wasn’t plastic. The next two years’ spoons (one’s missing – I’d obviously had too much of the bubbly when I tossed it into the trash) were almost identical to one another. And then there was this year’s – a little more colorful than the last three (really, they all looked like white plastic) and a smidge larger. But clearly more fragile. My dreams of finally having a complete set (one for me, one for my husband, and one for each of the kids) – were crushed in an instant. *SNAP!*

Well, the caviar – and it’s a darned good thing – about made up for it. And when I jokingly told my husband, on New Year’s Day, that I was going to go give those caviar people a piece of my mind on Twitter or something, I ended up finding a blog fit to drool over and it almost made me forget all about the silly spoons. Almost. 😉 Check out – you’ll want caviar for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

A lot of people claim to hate caviar – most of them have never tasted it. The first time I tasted it was aboard the S.S. United States; I was five. The next time, I was scooping it out of the container while standing at my grandmother’s kitchen counter, competing with my dad to see who’d get the last bite. But then, we like anchovies, too…

Oh, who the heck needs a spoon? As they say on the blog, the best way to taste caviar is straight from your hand. Works for me.

3 thoughts on “Consistency”

  1. One of my favorite classes in culinary school was Culinary Survey. It was essentially two weeks about the history and breadth of food production. The worst night was cheese, 32 cheeses from softest to hardest and we had to taste each one. Sure, it sounds great at first blush, but just try eating 32 separate cheeses in an hour. The second worst night was caviar. I hate fish and the offspring of fish still tastes like fish.

    And yet it was still my favorite class 🙂

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