Here's where I let my thoughts go this way and that on food-related topics.

Food On The Walls

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Dill, spinach pasta, cream cheese, peach pie, Persian melon. No, these aren't items on my grocery list. They're paint colors dreamed up by companies like Sherwin-Williams, Martin Seymour, and Dutch Boy. I've noticed that paint manufacturers never tire of the natural world as the principal source for paint names: flora and fauna ("New Grass"), geology ("River Stone"),weather ("Ivory Mist"), and, of course, foods.

I've also noticed that naming paint colors after edible items can be a tricky business. A hue out of sync with the food it's named after can cause one to turn a queasy shade of "New Grass". Recently, when I was at Bolfing Hardware's paint-chip wall I was drawn to a cool grey-green. Hmmm, this could look nice on the kitchen walls, I thought. But then I saw the color's name:"String Bean". Suddenly, I was back in the crowded, chaotic Thousand Oaks School lunchroom as the pre-deliquent third grade boys flung rubbery grey-green string beans at us girls as they hollered, "Look out for the worms!" So much for the grey-green kitchen idea. Near "String Bean" I found "Persimmon Muffin". An appetizing image...if it weren't the color of a Band Aid. If I ever walked into a bakery and saw a persimmon muffin that shade, I would consider it my civic duty to call the Department of Health immediately.

On the other hand, there are occasions when the color and its name work together in mouth-watering synchronicity. In the depths of one Manhattan winter I slogged through the slush to the hardware store to find a color to paint my bedroom. I was looking an antidote to the prevailing grey-ness outside my bedroom window. I found it in a color called "Cataloupe"; both the color and its name struck just the right note of tropical, bongo-playing escapism I was after. And unlike many of my wall-painting experiences, the end result looked even better than what I had envisioned. I began to think of it as the Cantaloupe Room. When the afternoon sun flooded the room I felt blissfully engulfed in my big radiant cantaloupe; I could almost imagine the Artic winds whistling through the leaky windows were breezes from the Gulf Stream. It was as close to an equatorial idyll as I would ever get on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.;

I realize that taste in colors and foods is a subjective matter. What makes me swoon could make you sick. Unlike my reaction to "String Bean", it might evoke happy memories for you of, say, companionable hours spent in your grandmother's kitchen while she canned beans from her garden. And where I see paradise in "Cantaloupe" you may well see an absolute lemon.