By Gwyneth Doland
It's a texture thing. Sometimes yogurt makes me gag—not enough texture. And certain mangoes have that furry quality that makes my tongue feel rubbed the wrong way. I love the rough, graininess of jicama, but not the stringy thing about celery. The sliminess of okra chunks in gumbo: good. The slippery sticky film of meat that's been in the fridge too long: bad. Papaya and avocado are both silky smooth, but just firm enough to be sexy, not icky. The chewy crust of Sage Bakehouse's paisano loaf makes me want every sandwich to be on that bread. And I could eat a heap of deep fried chicken skins; there's something so decadent about the combination of crispy, crunchy top and soft, pale skin underneath. The lacy edges of an egg cooked in bacon grease are always divine, especially when swabbed with a little runny yolk. The crisp/creamy thing is a killer, too, like cottage fries dipped in queso, Lay's Classic chips in green chile dip, chicken-fried steak smothered in gravy. Oooh! Serve me flaccid pasta, crunchy risotto, too-fried refried beans or pasty potatoes and you're fired. Make my bacon just right—crispy but not so stiff it shatters, still tender but not soggy—and I'll love you forever. It's a texture thing.
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