Thursday, September 9, 2010

Childhood Habits Turn Useful

As I walked the vineyard with Dutchess this morning and sampled grapes, I couldn't help but laugh at how my early childhood habits have become good characteristics to have in this business. Just to set the tone and give you a picture, my mom was great and the family was a priority for her. She made snacks , packed lunches and cooked well balanced meals every single day as part of her routine to nourish the family and develop good life long eating habits in her children. My brothers were her easy children-loved milk, fruits and veggies and never complained about texture/flavor issues of the food. I, on the other hand, was the challenge child for my Mom. I definitely had my opinions about food but I always had to eat what was fixed and try everything that was served for the meal. Good habits developed as we could eat at friends homes and choke down horrible foods and ones we didn't like so we didn't offend our hosts.

So, the back ground of meal expectations has been set and now I can explain my issue with grapes. Great food for young kids as you can cut them in half and they become non choking finger foods as we learn how to feed ourselves. I was OK with that but the skins were tough to chew with a bitter taste and that was the beginning. I began just to eat the pulp and leave the skins as one does with a baked potato. So Mom started to purchase different kinds of grapes (not many options in the Midwest in the 70s). The green ones tasted too tart for me most of the time. The reds ones had no taste/flavor in my opinion. Some had seeds which I didn't want to eat. I could go on and on. My mom mixed them with chicken salad, in fruit salad, roasted them with pork as a few of the examples. I couldn't stand under ripe ones and the ones with dimpling were just as bad to me. Basically, I thought a grape was pointless as it had no flavor but they were great projectiles in the school lunch room.

Who would have foreseen the fact that my pickiness was a precursor for my future. I love walking the vines to sample the grapes, check sugars and flavors. I actually chew the skins as it is where the flavors reside and the seeds no longer scare me. I don't like chewing the green under ripe ones(but I need to know the color and texture of the seeds) but it's good to bite down on the brown crunchy ones as that means they're ripe. Being picky about flavors as a kid has become a strength for me now. My palate is a much needed tool for my life. Thanks Mom and Dad for letting me voice my opinions as it allowed me to stay curious in what I was tasting. Who knew that was the precursor for my life. I'm sure my folks never dreamed that I would some day be a farmer - let alone a grape farmer. I guess when people ask about the start of my career, I should say it began in the 70s. I would love to point out to my Mom that I wasn't a picky kid, just a future vintner in the making but I don't think she would find it too funny.

No comments: