I was on a roll with international food language, so from there, went to a pair of papers on the way words for dishes change throughout the MIddle East, from the voyages of schwarma to biryani to halwa and aubergine. I scribbled down a proverb from one of these, although not its provenance: "In Heaven, they dine on rice pilaf and apricots; in Hell, they eat bulgar wheat and tomatoes."
The third paper was on pepper. All kinds of pepper, but black pepper and long pepper most of all, and what exactly it is that "pepper" means and how it's been abused. The speaker had brought jars and jars of samples with her back from India for us to sample. This page in my notebook is a series of spaces and labels as I laid each peppercorn down before passing on the jar. "Sri Lankan: soft, a little spicy" or "Indonesian: warm, more like chiles". Long pepper was awkward to eat. Betel leaf was astonishly complex, even after eating four whole peppercorns. "Like limey bbq sauce", I wrote, but trying it again later, without the other fires, it was almost alcoholic, with a linger mintlikeness to it. My favorite was cubeb pepper, anisey and slightly sweet.