A still from Yoplait yoghurt launch ad in 1982
Slightly Bemused writes:
I went to the shop today, and was delighted to see something that the past few times has been sold out. About two weeks ago one of the ladies who works in the shop, and always has a smile for me (and a very nice but large husband, and some absolutely delightful kids – don’t worry, that is not where this is going) recommended a yoghurt. I had not had it before – caramel and toffee flavour. Probably not good for my cholesterol, but is a yummy dessert as the wind picks up outside and the rain drives against the window.
And it got me thinking of my first yoghurt – a raspberry flavoured Yoplait. I was 8 years old. Apart from the fact that this was a veritable taste explosion I had never experienced before, the reason I remember it is the friend who shared it. I think in many ways we remember the most important things by the people who were part of that time with us.
He lived round the corner, we were in the same class in school and there was a group of about 4 of us who did our best to terrorise the neighbourhood. We two were on the way home, and his house was first. We went there to watch something on TV (sorry, the yogurt experience made me forget what), and his mother gave him a yoghurt. She apologised to me – she had not expected me, and only had the one left. My friend promised to share.
And so in a situation that would give our Chief Medical Officer paroxysms today, two snot -nosed kids shared a yoghurt with the same spoon while not watching television. Naturally, it was gone all too soon. But he taught me the proper etiquette for eating yogurt: you lick the lid, and when the spoon cannot get any more out, you run your finger around the pot and lick the remains off a digit which of course had not been washed. I did not share that bit, his largesse extended to spoonfuls and half the lid, but not fingers.
I have sat on many flights over the years, and often if it is a morning one, they might serve yoghurt. I always lick the lid, thinking of my friend, I do not always run my finger around for the last bits, depending on how horrified the look is from my fellow passenger in the row when I lick the lid. Of course I smile at them, but never explain.
One was a Swiss colleague, and her look was wonderful. When I smiled, she snorted, and made a comment to the effect of ‘When Irish eyes are smiling, you have to wonder what they are up to”. She was Swiss French, her husband was Swiss German and was sitting a few rows back. They spoke to each other in English. The yoghurt was peach flavoured.
And of course this evening, when I crack open this new yoghurt and settle down to watch something silly, I will lick the lid, I will use my finger to get the last bits, and I will think of my friend, and the lady in the shop with the nice smile who introduced me to this new treat. And I will smile at the horror of a colleague on a plane. In honour of Dr Holohan and in the interests of my own safety, I will wash my hands before and after.
Slightly Bemused‘s column appears here every Wednesday.