Monday, December 04, 2006

The Economics of Freshness

So. At yet another supra. I'm sure this will become something of a recurring theme -- in fact, it already has. I'm slowly mastering the art of being able to drink toasts for seven hours and remain sober. I'm not exaggerating about either of those things. We started our supra at five p.m. this evening, and it's now a quarter till one. And the trick is to only wet your lips three out of every four toasts. There will come the toast where you're expected to drink from the drinking horn. The horn is big, and you can't set it down without drinking the whole thing. But this comes early in the evening, and if you only wet your lips for the next five toasts, you will be fine.

Okay. Enough of that.

One thing I noticed, this evening, is that the fresh food tastes great. My father always used to say (he still does, actually) that if you don't like X (here, X might be spinach, or green beans, or apples, or anything else that's food, really) it's because you haven't had really fresh X. And if you had, you wouldn't dislike it. I'm still not convinced this is true about beets. But about 3/4 of the way through the supra (totally stone-cold sober) someone cut up an apple and handed me a slice. These are your traditional, red-hued apples. They look like anything you'd buy at a grocery store. Except this one was delicious. And not just by name. It tasted like you'd think an apple should taste.

And this isn't just with apples. Tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, lettuce -- they all taste far, far more incredible here. I'm not making this up. Mostly it has to do with the fact that nothing is shipped from California. It's all locally grown, and locally sold. This is also part of what makes the peasant wine so fantastic. It's also what makes it nearly impossible to export. The bottled wine that they make here is good, don't get me wrong. But the peasant wine is out of this world good. I've had glasses of wine that tasted like fireworks. But it's also highly inconsistent -- and impossible to mass-produce at the same level of quality. Just like tomatoes. So, when we go to a supra, and someone has gone out and picked the best of the lot from a local farmer, what we get are amazing, amazing tomatoes. Same with wine. But the downside is that you can't ever get them at a grocery store.

Ah well. You will all just have to come visit. *sigh*. The things we have to do in life. Well, let me know when you're coming, we'll make sure there are fresh sheets on the guest beds.

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