One of the pleasures of editing the Food Channel is discovering terrific young writers like Scarlett Lindeman, who come up with things I sure would never think of. Why she reeked of a strangely sweet smell that even started to cloy for her boyfriend, for instance. I loved reading it, as I do our contributors every day (see Derek Brown on mineral water in cocktails, which can add flavor—something I noticed when spending two years researching bottled water and learning the importance of minerals for flavor—my favorite is magnesium.) Maple syrup smell emanating from your pores—who would have thought it, and who could have traced it? Read her column.
Then after you do, read the rest of this—spoiler alert. It turns out that I'd heard of this phenomenon recently, in fact tasted it at Toscanini's, where Gus Rancatore holds court and encourages his ice-cream makers, including a former savory chef, Kevin Rafferty, who came upon me, excitement in his eyes, as I was working at the high table. "You've got to taste this!" he said, thrusting a cup of ice cream. Given that the tastes often involve saffron or mochi or unexpected liqueurs, I look at them with a certain wary regard. You never know where ice-cream makers are looking for their flavors or who they're stealing them from, as Gus wrote. But this one sounded relatively innocent. "It's blueberry pancake!"