“Good Taste”, Isaac Asimov (1976)

In which the spacer Chawker Minor, leaves his home, the Orbital Habitat Gammer, and tours other places, including the deadly depths of the Gravity well created by the mass of planet Earth. The literal dirt.

And he brings back with him spectacular new flavors.

That does not go over well.

‘The idea for the dish occurred to me, actually, on the Other-World Kapper, which is why I called it Mountain Cap, in tribute. I used ordinary ingredients, Grand-Elder, carefully blended, all but one. I suppose you detected the Garden Tang?’

‘Yes, I did, but there was a slight modification there, I think, that I did not follow. How did the Other-World you speak of affect matters?’

‘Because it was not Garden Tang, Grand-Elder, not the chemical. I used a complicated mixture for the Garden Tang, a mixture whose nature I cannot be entirely certain of.’

Tomasz frowned portentously. ‘You mean, then, yon cannot reproduce this dish?’

‘I can reproduce it; be certain of that, Grand-Elder. The ingredient to which I refer is garlic.’

Tomasz said impatiently, ‘That is only the vulgar term for Mountain Tang.’

‘Not Mountain Tang. That is a known chemical mixture. I am speaking of the bulb of the plant.’

Grand-Elder Tomasz’s eyes opened wide and so did his mouth.

Chawker Minor continued enthusiastically, ‘No mixture can duplicate the complexity of a growing product, Grand-Elder, and on Kapper they have grown a particularly delicate variety which they use in their Prime. They use it incorrectly, without any appreciation of its potentiality. I saw at once that a true Gammer-person could do infinitely better, so I brought back with me a number of the bulbs and used them to good advantage. You said it was the best dish of Prime you had ever rolled tongue over, and if there is any better evidence than that for the value of opening our society, then —’

But he dwindled to a stop at last and stared at Tomasz with surprise and alarm, Tomasz was backing away rapidly. He said in a gargling voice, ‘A growth — from the dirt — I’ve eaten —’

The Grand-Elder had often boasted that such was the steadiness of his stomach that he had never vomited, not even in infancy. And certainly no one had ever vomited in the great Hall of Judgment. The Grand-Elder now set a precedent in both respects.«

Good Taste