Childhood memories in a glass bottle

February 20, 2011 § 18 Comments

Apple juice. Such a simple, common American drink; a favorite among so many children. And a favorite among so many parents and teachers–apple juice doesn’t stain like grape juice or soda! (I learned this lesson myself when I taught four-year-old Catholic Sunday school. Apple juice and white grape juice were total winners.)

When I drink apple juice, I experience two kinds of joy. The first is the usual joy one receives from a palate that is utterly pleased. I do not have a complicated, adventurous palate. Salt is typically enough seasoning for me. I believe I could qualify as someone who is a supertaster; I have no trouble tasting a food simply by smelling it. Often, the “taste” lingers on my tongue as though I actually experienced it by the mouth rather than by olfaction. Particularly displeasurable to my palate are most spices (as Gollum says so perfectly, “It burns us!”) and carbonation (more burning!). (More on carbonation in a moment.) I have been mocked by foodie friends with more adventurous palates; I have gagged on raw pineapple; my tongue breaks out into firey hives when I drink orange juice. To me, apple juice is divine.

The second joy I experience when I drink apple juice, and a particular apple juice especially, runs even deeper. My favorite apple juice in the entire world is Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Juice:

Oh, can you hear the angels singing?

You see, when I was a little girl, my grandmother stocked her refrigerator with Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Juice. (The funny thing about my palate and carbonation is that Martinelli’s was never offensive to me. I don’t know the mechanics of it, but it seems less fizzy than, say, a soda or even a carbonated alcoholic beverage; at least, my tongue wasn’t on fire when I would drink it.) I always believed that Martinelli’s was a special apple juice not only because I normally only drank it at my grandmother’s house but also because it was in a glass bottle. Not a paper package with a little dinky straw. Not even in a break-proof plastic bottle. No, this big girl was entrusted with drinking the liquid gold from a perfectly breakable glass bottle. It was a real treat.

This afternoon I decided to treat myself with a Martinelli’s from Earth Fare while Robert indulged with a Mexican Coca-Cola (no high-fructose corn syrup, you know). The minute I touched lips to glass rim, my heart and head filled with joy. Immediately, I was five years old, perched atop a wooden stool behind my grandparents’ bar-top kitchen island. The glass bottle fit better in one hand at the age of 29 than it did when I was five. And the juice ran out a great deal faster than when I was five.

But the experience…the experience was exactly the same.

Photo courtesy The Dr Soda Company

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