The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A sweet but dry aroma, subtle, but pungent

In the never ending quest to bring you, the reader, important facts and entertaining stories... I often fail. Miserably. But that's okay, I am used to failure. A lifetime of poor choices has given me plenty of experience and taught me acceptance of my shortcomings.

One of my shortcomings, it seems, is the lack of a discerning palate. Let's first define "palate" for those of you who think it might be some kind of foreign car:

pal·ate (plt)
1. The roof of the mouth in vertebrates having a complete or partial separation of the oral and nasal cavities and consisting of the hard palate and the soft palate.
2. Botany The projecting part on the lower lip of a bilabiate corolla that closes the throat, as in a snapdragon.
3. The sense of taste: delicacies pleasing to the most refined palate.

In my case, the shortcoming has to do with definition #3. When I was a small child, I didn't care what cereal I ate as long as it tasted sweet. Very sweet. Meat (and just about everything else) required salt. Which I added before taking my first bite. It may have something to do with role models. This was the routine at our dinner table:

Mom puts the already loaded plates in front of us, Dad reaches for and applies salt liberally. Mom sits down and does the same. I have no idea what my brother and sister do, I only pay attention to them in self defense anyway. I apply salt. We eat. We play with our food (not my parents, just my siblings and I). No one compliments Mom on her cooking. We only rarely ask what it was.

I thought people that drank black coffee were strange, mustard was not as good as ketchup, and Miracle Whip was a staple. And I never used pepper.

It took the Navy to teach me how to eat. Again, it was in self defense. I had to eat to survive. They taught me to trust my taste buds and that I could acquire a sense of taste for foods I once adamantly refused to eat. When it was all that I could get.

What they didn't teach me was to discern fine wines from cheap, or "good" beer from "bad."

I still haven't a clue.

I read about blind taste tests of beer many decades ago. What they uncovered was that it is a rare palate that can tell the difference. To this day, I chuckle when my friends demand Bud Lite instead of Miller Lite or Michelob Ultra. And, one of these days, I am going to bribe the barmaid to give them Miller when they ask for Bud and see what happens. When I was drinking, all I cared about was the alcohol content and the only beer I disliked was Hamm's. I even drank Orbit (a beer I suspected was brewed with canal water in Dade County). For fine wine, I drank Red Mountain Vin Rose. In the gallon jug ($1.49). That winery is now called "Carlo Rossi's Red Mountain Vineyards" and the price has increased considerably. As an aside, do you see much vin rose around these days? No? Not surprised... it just means "red wine".

Are you able to discern the subtle differences between foods and wines and beer?

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