STORIES - Checking for Ripeness
Checking for ripeness
When I travel I want to experience the destination through the art and culture, which of course includes food and wine. Not only does this mean regional specialities it also means going to the local markets and supermarkets, not specifically to purchase anything, but to imbibe the atmosphere, the looks , the smells, to imagine which staples I would be buying in this supermarket if I lived here and which fresh produce I would be purchasing in the markets. To become familiar with the names, to acquire some of the confidence of an (almost) local, to think, yes, if I were stranded here I would not be totally lost. In other words, I want to eat and drink locally, such as in Australia I do not want to drink French wine in the Hunter Valley, or in Barcelona I want to drink locally, not buy Jacobs Creek in a Barcelona supermarket because it is the only brand I recognise.
I also expect that the regional guides published for tourists to be accurate and informative, to give a sense of what to do and see, what to eat and drink. Which is why I found a promotion for a South Australian wine region both outrageous and hysterically funny. The image depicted a man reclining on a picnic rug in a bucolic setting, beside him an ice bucket with a bottle of wine and a pineapple.
I will list just some of the incongruities: Pineapples are really not a standard crop grown in any South Australian wine region. It is almost impossible to find Pineapples and a compatible wine in any list of food and wine matches. Since there are no glasses or table ware depicted, I must assume that the pineapple will be ripped apart with the bare hands and the wine drunk from the bottle. Judging by the bulge, it would only be fair to ask if there is another pineapple in the gentleman’s pocket or he was really pleased to see the photographer ?
My reaction to this is indicated by the figure to the right, laughing and holding a mask of the existential scream from Edvard Munch’s painting. The collage has been built around innuendo in the common phrase used in food writings “To check for ripeness, squeeze gently” and have added to the mix beetroot and pumpkin, vegetables that it would be futile to squeeze. To complete the satire, an indigenous person from South America, the original home of the pineapple, now looks on.