I was invited to a virtual wine tasting event via video conferencing facility and dutifully registered for 90 minutes of education in all manner of Italian vino matters.
In order that the products sampled were not virtual, I had received a professionally put together package a week or so beforehand. It was via a courier who I have to admit has probably seen a fair amount of my house in the last year. And this brown cardboard box was probably the one with the least amount of alcohol in it.
In addition to the 4 samples were a number of food items, to include cheese, meats and crackers, all of which were to accompany the wines on the night.
It is a mark of how the last year has changed me that I would have happily have had the contents of my delivery there and then- at 11am in the morning- rather than have to wait a week to sit in front of my computer at 6pm in the evening and watch a lecture about it all!
It was worth it in the end and I did enjoy the occasion; helped in no small part by the witty text banter I was having unbeknownst to the other attendees between myself and the person who had invited me to join the festivities.
At the end of the evening I had scoffed nearly all the wine and goodies. Except, that is, for one little unopened, garishly coloured, plastic pouch of what turned out to be de-stoned green olives.
I do not like eating olives, no matter what hue!
Indeed, after a Salade nicoise or a veggie pizza, what ends up still on the plate looks like where the extras from Watership Down have been hanging out.
However, and bear with me on this, many many times I have enjoyed some nice freshly baked breads with lashings of tapenade slathered on prior to a dinner out!
And its not just me, my other half who nearly lost her mind the day a Caesar salad was served with a half dozen unexpected full and salty anchovies will also happily tuck into tapenade with abandon!
I recall when our eldest daughter was a baby and crawling and then beginning to walk that she was fascinated by the TV remote control. Presumably she had watched how important it was to us and she wanted to know what all the fuss was about.
After a couple of times where she would press the buttons randomly changing the channel or putting the sound up, down or on mute we took to taking out the batteries or taking one of them out and putting it back in the wrong way round.
We hoped that having the remote but not having control would pacify her but it didn’t. She seemed to instinctively know that what she was being given wasn’t right.
And it was the same when we would try to slip some medicine into her bottle. She wouldn’t even let it passed her lips. She would grab it out of our hands and chuck the bottle across the room. Showing it the same contempt she had for the impotent TV controls.
It was like she had a sixth sense that what she was being handed wasn’t right.
Later in life though when she wouldn’t eat her greens , we found that if we mixed broccoli with gravy and potatoes into what we called ‘Magical Mash’ it went down a storm- and she was happy that she hadn’t eaten any of the horrible veggies!
It’s kind of like as you get older you are conditioned to swallow something unpalatable in its original form as long as it gets repackaged in such a way that you are duped into thinking its something else entirely.
There’s a food trend of the last half decade called ‘deconstruction’, where the various ingredients of a normally combined dish are presented on the plate entirely separate.
To a great extent, the diner is left to their own devices as to how they wish to consume what is in front of them. It not only leaves them free to eat the elements in any order, it also allows for certain things to get left out.
It's probably a fad that should be adopted in other parts of our lives, to look beyond what has been neatly tied up and presented to us with a fancy bow.
To assess a little deeper whether what we think we see is really what we are getting, and whether indeed we want to gulp it down without thinking of the consequences.