Monday, August 15, 2011

900 Aristotle's Yogurt

900 Aristotle’s Yogurt

You probably haven’t noticed this.  But a few months ago, Aristotle finally got his ticket for the time machine in Athens and landed in the 21st century, on Steinway St. in Astoria, where he’s living in one of those “taxpayer” apartments with the deli downstairs.

He’s watching the tube last night and there are all these ads for Dannon Oikos Traditional Greek Yogurt.  And this afternoon, he walks downstairs to the deli and asks Saphira behind the counter if she has any. And she says “Yeah, we have it for the tourists... but...”

Ari says “If I’m not a tourist, what am I?  I’m 2400 years old and 49-hundred-20 miles from home!”  So he buys the stuff and asks “aren’t most yogurts like eight ounces or so?”  Saphira says “I see you haven’t been here in awhile, they’re all 6 ounces now.”

Ari:  “This one’s 5.3 ounces.”

Saphira shrugs.  Ari sits down, dips a spoon in the yogurt, starts to eat  and spits it back out into the cup.

Ari:  “What the hell’s in this stuff?”  Saphira tells him to read the label.

Cultured Grade A Milk, strawberry, water, fructose, contains less than 1% modified corn starch, natural flavor, carageenan, black carrot juice concentrate, and carmine (for color), sodium citrate, potassium sorbate (to maintain freshness), malic acid.

This doesn’t sound like the authentic Greek yogurt Aristotle’s mom used to make.   The ingredients then were goat’s milk, a starter culture, a little cow’s milk and about two days of waiting.  Ari thows out the cup, returns the spoon and orders a burger, fries and a coke.

“This is a Greek neighborhood... it’s why I came here.  Who buys this stuff?” he asks.

“Tourists,” Saphira answers.  And she adds “You know, I studied you at St. Demitrios and the priests said you were subversive, didn’t appreciate the spirituality of yogurt.”
Aristotle:  “Did you learn that in chemistry class?  This isn’t yogurt. And what the hell is “malic acid?”

Saphira:  It’s C-4 H-5 O-5 and it what makes sour taste.  I DID learn that in chemistry class.”

Aristotle:  What about black carrot whatever?

Saphira:  Since you’re 2400 years old, you may remember that carrots started out black in your neighborhood in Athens and still grow that way over there.  Makes the stuff more “authentic.”

Aristotle: If you’re so smart, why are you working behind a deli counter?

Saphira:  If you’re so smart, why did you come to Astoria?

Aristotle:  Because I wanted to meet Tony Bennett, maybe buy a piano direct from Steinway and have some authentic Greek yogurt.


--Designer yogurt isn’t limited to “authentic Greek.”  There’s regular, low fat, no fat, digestion- aiding, fruit blended, fruit on the bottom, fruit on the top.  But with hundreds of choices, you’re still limited to plain, fruit, chocolate or vanilla.  Someone could make a ton of money with vegetable, nut or meat flavors.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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