Sour Grapes: When Research Doesn’t Translate Into Reality


Do you always eye beautiful cheese boards enviously? I know I do. The right cheese board is pleasing to both the eye and the palate and is all about mixing the right elements. And that’s what this post was supposed to be about. A tutorial on how to make a beautifully delicious cheese board. Instead, it’s a confession.

I love learning. You may have gotten that from the research I pour into my posts, especially those in the Peak Produce category or Home Ec.: Cooking 101. I consult a variety of sources, both print and electronic, to try and find the most accurate, most interesting, and most useful information. I like to know how and why things work the way they do. I like to know interesting, random, and (most probably useless) facts. And I want to improve things to make them more efficient, more delicious, more lovely.

Prior to starting this blog, I was researching produce and trying recipes for my own improvement and entertainment. I thought blogging would help me focus my education, challenge myself, and maybe even inspire others to eat more healthy, more consciously, more thoughtfully. So what does all of this have to do with today’s post?


Sometimes, despite my best efforts, research does not translate into reality. For today’s post I wanted to feature a beautiful cheese board, full of fall flavors. I consulted source after source for the best pairings, the right amount of items, and more. I had the elements of a perfect powerhouse of flavors and it looked beautiful. The reality: it tasted horrible. At least to me. It’s as if my cheese board looked good on paper but we lacked chemistry in person.

I categorize myself not as a picky eater, but a particular one. I will try any vegetable or fruit all day and all night; I’m more reserved with meat. I like to know what ingredients are in the food I consume, and I like to eat foods that I consider healthy. I also like cheese. But I am selective and lack the palate to enjoy blue cheeses (many people dislike them) and others. I ignored my gut feelings on this cheese board because I wanted to follow the recommendations of others more in the know when it comes to cheese.

This experiment reaffirmed my belief to always be true to yourself, both in cheese selection and in life. If you don’t care for Brie and don’t want it on your cheese board, don’t include it! Love cheddar, invite it to the party. Push your boundaries and try new things but you don’t have to force yourself to like something just because people say it goes well together.

The same holds true for wine. Throw the “rules” out the window, be a rebel. I dare you. Many of our “rules” on wine pairings originated in choices that had nothing to do with taste. In the 18th and 19th centuries, what people chose to drink was influenced more by economics, wars, embargoes, and tariffs, than taste.

If people weren’t willing to experiment, to try new things, we would never improve. We may not have things like corn flakes or chocolate chip cookies! So dare to put yourself out there, to try something new, to break “the rules”. Who knows, maybe you’ll create something revolutionary.


And now… if you still want some cheese plate eye candy and tips, check out these fantastic posts:

And for some recipes using grapes, check out this post.

“People are very open-minded about new things – as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.” Charles Kettering

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