Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tasting Terroir - A Tutorial.

1. The main thing that you must remember is that the land, the soil, the earth, contains different mixtures of minerals and materials depending on where you are. Do you remember the first time you realized it?

5. It was when you first noticed it was spring, the Central New York snow melted and the mud and the earth gave off a certain smell. The mud was black. The Ostrom Avenue snowbanks were covered in black dirt.

7. It was when you were in the back seat of the van with your mother behind the wheel by the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama. The Spanish moss swung like cobwebs from the trees. You had watched through the car window for an eternity. You saw the earth turned orange along the way. Bright orange, deep rusty orange. They had cut tunnels through miles and miles to make the highway.

8. It was the first summer you noticed that the water tasted different in Chaumont.

14. It was when you went apple picking on a class trip in Cortland and once things settled down after the terrible accident, you found yourself alone and leaned against a rail and took a big bite of a Cortland apple from Cortland picked that day and realized through your tears that you had never tasted an apple that tasted so much like itself before.

15. It was when Willy planted daffodils on Sarah's grave.

18. It was when you first left home and bought your groceries in Boston and found that they didn't have any real cheddar cheese.

22. It was when you were doing push-ups in the red dirt and remembered your childhood with fondness.

23. It was when you were forced to sleep by the side of the Pacific Highway in order to meet your orders to report to the Presidio. In the Canyons behind Carmel, the lady with the red jaguar who didn't want to take her car. She hitchhiked for a ride to the monestary, going for the summer solstice. She wanted you express yourself in a scream out over the canyon. Do you remember?

23. The earth was a warm yellow fawny brown. In the fog, the air smelled warm and free. Camping, and a fox barked and scared you. You felt relieved that the bark of a fox scared you more than your own scream. It shocked and balanced you.

23. It was when the plane touched down in Germany.

24. It was when you ate that salad on the Turkish coast, and you were so surprised that the cucumbers tasted so cucumbery, the tomatoes so tomatoey, the onions so onioney, and he replied that it was nothing. Secret notes taken in the spirit. Nothing.

25. It was when Ayi in Beijing brought home the first batch of vegetables she had bought "from a friend" with the weekly allowance you gave her. She chopped them under your watchful curious eye, and served forth a meal so explosively delicious you could only thank God for her existence.

27. It was when you went home after years abroad.

27.5 Parched beach-side grilling. Succulent smoked meats.

28. It was when you took a traveling man around a grocery store as a late night diversion to look at him some more. His beige pants searched for bread and yogurt, and the things he was accustomed to. It was when he solemnly declared that the "baguette" was not really baguette.

29. Study in Paris.

30. Cured sausage. The cheese he had chosen to have on hand. The bottle of wine. The wallpaper. The light. The first fondue, in a restaurant, wearing his beige pants because they had lost your luggage. How convenient that you wore the same size. He was no longer traveling.

31. It was the first time you tasted a cheese from the Auvergne that had the smoky taste of a long ago erupted volcano. (St. Nectaire). Learning a culture that made everything out of "nothing".

34. It was when you raised the glass to your lips and they said "the terroir". It was when you thought not of the limestone steppes of Burgundy, but of the limestone quarry of Chaumont, New York, the water there. Dunking your head into the water there.

This is the taste of terroir.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Mimi said...

Just lovely, Lucy!

You have - as always - a way of creating images that can be tasted and felt and even touched...

5:07 AM, June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're looking out at the Quarry now, thinking of you, and telling stories of "Growing up Sellers." We miss you and hope to see you soon,

-Fro

2:54 AM, July 02, 2007  

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