Better Fresh - or Seasoned?

The idea of 'fresh' appeals to everyone – fresh ideas, fresh air, fresh kids. No wait, not that one. Fresh is often good. But not always.

So I started wondering: what things are better fresh, and which are improved with seasoning?

News is good when it's recent. But when it's just out, it may contain inaccuracies. History is better seasoned, when people have time to ponder all the facts, gather lots of sources, and hopefully arrive at the right interpretation.

Food is a mixed category as well. Certain food groups demand freshness. Bread and pastries – that obvious. A nice warm pain au chocolat straight from the oven can't be beat. Certainly not by the stiff corpse of the following day.

Fruits and vegetables are in my opinion best when picked ripe from the field. But a little seasoning can bring out the flavor and many people probably prefer the addition of butter, sugar and spices to their veggies. Hmmm. This category might be a toss-up. A sweet juicy orange versus a baked apple topped with brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Anyone hungry yet?

There are some types of food where aging brings out the full flavor that just isn't present in the fresh state. Wine and whiskey certainly spring to mind. Also cheese, beef, and what else?

Let's consider something at least as interesting as food – Lovers. 'Fresh' or 'Seasoned'? It's clear that women in general favor the experienced lover. Who wants to have to provide a map to the erogenous zones (no, that's my belly button, dear), or a lesson in the joys of foreplay (uh, sixty seconds may be sufficient time to get your hot rod up to top speed, but I'm not a Corvette).

But which do men prefer? The cliché is that men like virgins. But in real life, I wonder. Wouldn't a guy be just as happy as a woman is to have a partner who knows what she's doing (now that paternity is not really an issue)? The guy who needs an ignorant partner seems a bit insecure to me. I think we should place lovers in the 'seasoned' column.

Let's consider books. Is the first book you read by an author you'll ultimately love better than the tenth? There's the joy of finding someone new versus the pleasurable anticipation of reading a book by an author you know you love. What about a series? Is the first or the last book the best?

Is the joyful surprise of finding a new writer better than the pleasurable anticipation of curling up with a well-loved author?


Jody said...

I find that a first book can go either way just like the last in a series. I still will keep reading a series in the hope they get better even when I am let down. Ut I much prefer series books than stand alones.

Carly Carson said...

Series seem to be getting more and more popular. So even if the first book is not all you'd hoped, you still keep going? Thanks for the input.

paperbackwriter said...

I love to discover a fresh new author, and I'm very happy when a book I love turns out to be the first in a series. If the characters are good, I'm not eager to let them go. In the old days, before series were popular,that meant re-reading my favorites until I wore them out!

Miranda Baker said...

Hmmmm. As with lovers and vegetables... I prefer seasoned. If I fall in love with a series, I'll buy the new books the week they come out. I'll even keep reading if they get a little formulaic or "stale." I think that's because I fall in love with the characters and their world. I can be seduced by fresh too, though. If someone I respect recommends a book, I'll take it for a ride and see if I fall in love.

Carly Carson said...

Paperbackwriter, I'm a big re-reader. If I love a book, I almost never let it go with one reading. Oddly, with series, I don't read any book again. Maybe because I keep going with the characters into the next book.

Miranda, so you're a little bit of "both" with books. I think I am too.

Pat McDermott said...

Great food metaphors, Carly. The challenge for an author when writing a series is to keep familiar characters fresh, like whipping up a favorite recipe with slightly different ingredients. I enjoy reading a series - Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys got me hooked - but I lose interest if the plots start sounding too contrived. Fortunately, there are tons of series out there.

Carly Carson said...

Interesting point, Pat. How do you keep a recurring character interesting, but still the same person the reader knows and loves. That's got to be a challenge.