Monday, February 25, 2008

What Was Adulthood? Part Two.

Last Saturday I went skiing for the first time in many years, and the memories came flooding back: the calf pain that surfaces if you allow your socks to bunch even slightly in your ski boots; the feeling of sailing toward the chairlifts at the end of a run; the directives from my instructors at ski school, lessons that I hated with a passion at the time but now must grudgingly admit were worth it; the attempts to skid to a halt and shower snow on whichever family member was waiting for you at the bottom of the hill.

I was prepared for the family vacation memories, but something else came back to me that I did not expect. From the moment we hit the slopes, this commercial began replaying in my head and would not stop:

Adulthood Exhibit C

"That sounds obscene," M. said as I tried to describe the Juicy Fruit jingle and lyrics.

"It's not obscene, it was a commercial," I insisted, as if the two things were mutually exclusive. In my young mind, where this commercial's integrity was forever preserved, advertisers would never allude to anything other than what was being sold. Gum and fun, how much more straightforward could it be?

"Whatever, I think the people at Juicy Fruit knew it was going to sound like a blow job," he said.

For some reason, parent company Wrigley felt it was very important to target skiers of all kinds as potential consumers for Juicy Fruit gum. Personally, I never thought of gum -- especially a brand that loses flavor as quickly as Juicy Fruit -- as a natural accompaniment to skiing, even for someone as gum-addicted as myself. For one thing, it gets stiff in cold weather. Then there's the high risk of swallowing...

Adulthood Exhibit D

I guess, watching these as an adult, it's possible that M. may have had a point. Maybe it's about more than just skiing and fun and the simple pleasures of gum-chewing? I feel so confused and yet, somehow, older.

I've looked at gum from both sides now
From kid to grown-up and still somehow
It's gum's illusions I recall
I really don't know gum, at all.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wine-Pairing Master Class.

Today I was intrigued to discover in one of my food magazines a service called eWINE match, "Your tool to finding the perfect wine pairing for your meal."

I enjoy fine foods and I enjoy fine beverages, but I am too lazy to pair them properly. It's sort of like my fashion sense: I can buy a good pair of shoes, and I can buy a lovely outfit, but Google has a better chance of putting together a cohesive ensemble than I do.

So I was excited to go to eWINE and have it tell me just what to drink with the cheeses I had bought. First, I typed "ricotta salata," which I was already disrespecting with some hastily cooked tomatoes and crostini.

The results: Greg Norman Sparkling, Meridian Pinot Noir, Matua Valley Paretai Sauvignon Blanc.

Interesting! I would not have guessed that, I thought. Let's kick it up a notch: I went to type in brebiou, a sheep's milk cheese I like... except I typed "brebious" by mistake.

Amazing! Despite my typo, eWINE still came up with a chardonnay, a cabernet sauvignon and a zinfandel. Huh, I thought. I would not have put those together.

I decided to give it a serious challenge. Going back to the search box, I entered a new term: "crap."

A real soldier, eWINE still delivered. Apparently Meridian Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with crap, unless you search for "crap" second time, in which case Gabbiano Pinot Grigio would be your top result.

Personally, I have always been stumped in terms of what to pair with Dubble Bubble. How to play off its chalky sweetness? Beringer Founders' Estate Chardonnay, says eWINE.

And what about something more spicy, such as Crest? If you want to brush right, take eWINE's suggestion and rinse with Chateau St Jean Sonoma Chardonnay. Its "floral notes with nuances of pear and honeydew" meld perfectly with this ADA-approved aperitif.

Hallelujah, Internets!

What pairings are you seeking lately?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

What Was Adulthood?

Remember when you looked at adulthood through the lens of childhood?

When I was a kid, I imagined that being an adult meant you got to live like this:

Adulthood Exhibit A

and this:

Adulthood Exhibit B

Essentially, you got to party all the time, drink special drinks that kids are not allowed to have, eat whatever you wanted, have special Adult Conversations and do Mysterious Adult Activities (there has to be something more to that picnic blanket than meets the eye), go to the bank and get wads of cash, wear special sexy outfits without your mom's permission, watch the best movies and say all the Adult Words (meaning the s-word, the b-word, and sundry) without getting punished.

You had a certain understanding of things, and you got to revel in it. That's how I understood adulthood, as a child.

What did you think it meant to be an adult?