The Grease-Soaked Paper Bag or the Fine Crystal?

July 15, 2012

After I’d skedaddled upstairs to clean while our guests were out and about, Barbara rang the doorbell. I’d messaged her before I’d run up the stairs to see if she could go for a walk, and I’d caught her just in time. Yay! I walk most days, but sometimes it’s so much nicer to have a buddy, and Barbara never disappoints with her stories. When I’d told her about Aunt Bernice’s “fancy glasses” which held today’s watermelon gazpacho, she told me about a story she’d used to teach her high school English students when stressing the importance of taking pride in their work, and presenting a lovely product. When I’d described the gazpacho in the glasses, she said, “We taste with our eyes before we taste with our mouths.”

She brought in 3 lunches for her students to taste – first with their eyes, before deciding which one they’d prefer to taste with their mouths. The meals contained inside of the 3 packages were the same in each: a peanut butter sandwich with chips. Barbara had rubbed Crisco inside of a paper bag before packing the slightly squished PB&J and crumbled chips so that the outward appearance suggested a garage mechanic’s greasy grub; that was Lunch One. The second serving, a diagonally-sliced sandwich with crunchy side was placed on a paper plate, with a paper cup set out above it. But the third selection was a beautifully cut sandwich set in the center of a fine china dinner plate with the chips artfully arranged beside. A crystal goblet was ready for the beverage, and the cloth napkin was folded and perfectly poised for the diner’s pleasure. The students’ preferences were usually unanimous: they wanted Lunch # 3. She said she never got a messy paper with crossed-out markings, smudges, stains, rips or tears. Their assignments generally were presented with cover pages, were neatly typed and easy to grade. Point made.

Did I NEED to put the gazpacho in Aunt Bernice’s cut glass goblets? No. A small side dish would’ve sufficed. But what fun for me fixing it, and for our young couple at our breakfast table this morning! Twice tasted: twice blessed! For all of us! So…why not?

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