Notes from the Cellar: On the road, again …

by Jeff Cox, Wine and Beer Merchandiser

This article was originally published in May 2009

The buds are swelling, things are awakening, the new season oozes to life in defiance of winter’s hypothermic hangover. The sap is rising. Anyone with a pulse can feel it.

But tomorrow promises rain and here I sit, snug at my desk, while visions of crisp, vividly flavored, terroir-accented white wines and cool, spicy rosés dance in my head. Makes me wanna put on my travelin’ shoes …

Awhile back, I found this interesting statistic, nestled among the usual collection of illuminating tidbits in Harper’s Index:

  • Percentage of Americans born in Washington, D.C., who still live there: 13.

  • Percentage of Texans who still live in Texas, the highest of any state: 76.

My first thought was wow — D.C. must be really, really awful, and Texas must be damned close to paradise. While I’m sure that loyal 76 percent would confidently confirm that Texas truly is God’s Country, after a little reflection I have a pretty strong hunch that the statistic suggests something more culturally nuanced than a clear-cut case of heaven and hell.

In any case, it’s a dramatic illustration of two cultures that breed two basic, but radically different kinds of people: those who stay put and those who don’t. Without plumbing the complexities of cause and effect specific to D.C. and Texas, nor succumbing to the urge to riff on the tempting metaphors that the subject poses, the numbers say a lot about the relative merits of either course.

Feed a healthy curiosity a taste of diversity and you get an unquenchable thirst for a full palette of flavors. On the other hand, routine yields a dogged determination to make do with vanilla, a distrust of what lies beyond that big horizon, and the certitude that right here is as good as it gets.

Get a taste of exotic fruit from over there and you’re never going to be able to get enough, while a regimen of the same ol’, same ol’ tends to make a person skeptical of all that strange stuff.

It’s not a question of right or wrong, better or worse — each road is its own reward. But it is a matter of choice. It’s a huge world, packed with more amazing flavors than the wildest imagination could ever hope to contemplate. Take your pick.

The world is your oyster. Picpoul, anyone?

Also in this issue

Your co-op, May 2009

Vote now — PCC annual board election April 28 to May 22, Meet the candidates — virtually and in person, Notice of 2009 ballot counting meeting, and more

Organic White House

While it’s very exciting that Michelle Obama has planted an edible garden on the South Lawn, kitchen gardens are nothing new at the White House. Eleanor Roosevelt started the trend in 1943, when she encouraged a return to the “liberty gardens” that helped alleviate food shortages and promote self-sufficiency during World War I.

Animal ID does not address causes of disease or contamination

We recognize that concerns about bird flu, mad cow disease, and recurring E. coli contaminations might make a proposed animal ID program seem like a good idea. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposal for animal ID would reward factory farms whose practices have encouraged disease, while crippling family farmers whose practices typically help prevent disease.