Sweet & Sour

Sweet & Sour

Yellow Ontario Plums

Have you ever eaten greengages? They’re a green plum that I remember from the other side of the pond. They’re smaller than the typical plum. With a sourness to them that has my mouth watering just thinking about them. And that reminds of a rhubarb tart. Oh boy, is that the most delicious tart of all or what! Picking wild sloes from between the thorny branches on the way to school … the shredded arms were worth the sensation of extreme mouth-puckering that came along with stuffing a fistful of these little sour bombs in your face.

If all that has you cringing, you might be North American!

Fortunately, I developed my taste for sour foods on the other side of the Atlantic. It’s not that we don’t have sour foods here, we just don’t seem to like them very much. The reason a tart is called a tart is … well … because it’s tart! Here we call them “pies” to avoid any sense of confusion! It’s difficult to find a rhubarb tart round my way. The much sweeter strawberry rhubarb pie is far more common. Or we could, more accurately, call it the Sugar-Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. Most of my Canadian friends would run screaming from the rhubarb tarts my mother used to make. But I loved them.

Most folk here don’t know what a “cooking apple” is. The famed Bramley cooking apple from the British Isles is secretly spoken about, amongst groups of expats hiding in the corners of dark & dingy pubs, in Canada. Here, we think the Granny Smith is a sour apple! LOL

We do like to sweeten things up in North America. I don’t think I’d ever had a sweet pickle before coming over. In Europe, they were as rare as real rhubarb tarts are here. Quebec, thanks to the French influence, offered both. For better or worse, modern food science & marketing techniques are used globally now. You can find ultra-sweet, sugar-laden products everywhere. The sour stuff doesn’t seem to have taken off in quite the same way. And that’s a pity.

If you’re not already a fan of sour, you should start working on it. It is an acquired taste & you’ll only acquire it with practice. Without ever going on a diet, you can improve your chances of not having to by making choices that don’t include oodles of sugar. While having a palate for sour doesn’t mean you won’t like sweet, at least you’ll have some other options. Unfortunately, developing a sweet tooth is not nearly so difficult!

The yellow fruits that appeared on our counter last night weren’t, as I’d hoped, ripe greengages. They were Ontario plums. They were a little tart but they didn’t deliver that “duck’s arse on a cold lake” kind of pucker that I was hoping for. But they were certainly better for me than the other choices I might have made after dinner. Though I probably shouldn’t have had a dozen of them, should I!

The displacement theory of dieting shouldn’t be ignored. Replacing a sweet processed dessert with a whole food is probably always a good move. Unfortunately, it’s probably not enough. The good news is that we can train ourselves off sugar too. It may take a a week or two of enduring our morning java without sugar before we get around to deciding we like it.

While we’re still complaining about the summer heat … try an iced coffee without the sugar syrup for a while & see how it goes.

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