The notorious Heston Blumenthal, known for his molecular gastronomy famed wild dishes such as Smoked Bacon-and-egg Ice Cream and Edible Sand, claims to have discovered a new use for a tampon as a palate cleanser.
Some claim a palate cleanser is an integral element of the haute cuisine experience. Standard methods used to inspire the tastebuds are fresh herbs or a simple glass of water.
So to accomplish that end, Blumenthal is experimenting with a tampon to soak up the juices in his mouth.
“If you drain the moisture in your mouth you experience richness, creaminess and sweetness more intensely … and there is really nothing much more absorbent than a tampon.”
It seems Blumenthal was introduced to the idea at a food research center in Wageningen, the Netherlands, by oral physiologist Don Prince.
Before long the pair were “playing around with different tampons”, he explained.
“You sit there and it grows and sucks the moisture out and just gets quite wet, swollen and woolly. Although it is quite funny sitting there with the little string coming out of your mouth.”
The impact on the tastebuds is immediate:
“If you have a spoonful of ice-cream then put a tampon on the tongue for a couple of minutes, when you eat the ice-cream again the taste will be richer. It’s certainly not something I would do for culinary enjoyment purposes, but it’s an interesting way to explore the taste receptors in our mouth.”
The Guardian’s Alexandra Topping insists Blumenthal’s current lunch of choice will not be found on the menu of the Fat Duck, his restaurant in Bray, or Dinner, in central London, any time soon.
“There is no way I am thinking of serving tampons to people in a restaurant,” he insisted, speaking from a field in north Wales where he is filming a new television series, Heston’s Fantastical Food.
I can see why people might think it’s a bit weird to put a tampon in your mouth, he said, but if it’s unused it is just a really absorbent material.