An image of a green fedora hat, which serves as the logo for this site.Gordy's Discourse

Idlis and the Conservation of Flavour Principle

I was amused to read the BBC's article describing a Twitter spat about idlis.

For the uninitiated, idlis are battered, steamed lentil and rice cakes that are popular in Southern India. They're often eaten for breakfast and I think that was the meal during which I first encountered them in Kerala, back in the mid 2000s.

Subtracting flavour from the universe.
Subtracting flavour from the universe.
Attribution: Mdsmds0, CC BY-SA 4.0

They did not go down well and only the special forces of food eaters amongst our group managed a whole one.

They have a strange texture that does weird things to your mouth, and I can only describe the flavour if I invent a new law of physics: The Conservation of Flavour Principle.

Imagine all flavours are rated from 0 to 100 on the flavour scale. The worst flavours — sprouts, for example — sit at the bottom, and the best flavours, like a juicy fillet steak, sit at the top. Any food adds flavour to the universe, even if you don't like the flavour. It's flavour whether it's good or bad. The net gain for the universe is more flavour, so it gets a + sign; it's positive flavour.

Idlis, though, somehow manage to subtract flavour from the universe. As you chew on one your mind is thrown into confusion. Your brain can't process an idli. It's not that they taste bad, as such, it's that their very blandness takes something away from your sensory perception.

I struggled through one of them by willpower alone, but two would probably cause a brain haemorrhage.

My theory is that the universe conserves flavour. All other foods add positive flavour to the universe and idlis alone conserve the balance by taking flavour away.

They're very odd and I'm not a fan of the things.