One of life's most difficult moments comes in choosing between two very attractive options. And in some cases, a multitude of selections which I seem to encounter every time a menu is placed in front of me at a restaurant. I am "one of those people" that likes to hear the specials recited by the staff so that I can imagine the dish as described in real time or in some cases if I know the chef and the chef knows me to ask the chef to make a selection on my behalf. (Needless to say some astute staff know how to make such an opportunity worth their effort, while others, usually the greener of waits simply panic and fall into a great pit of sweat). By narrowing the field I avoid the problematic nature of analyzing the choices in front of me and allow my senses or someone else's to guide me. I can say the most generous of gestures ever made from my frame of reference is someone offering to order for me when dining out (requiring the host to know me rather well or extremely willing to take a risk~both gestures equally impressive). But as we all know, what is true in real life is also true in the culinary arena. We make choices. In prior year blog posts I've boasted the attributes of a local "U pick Strawberry" option in my backyard ~Dempsey Farms~which is my "go to" place for the ruby jewels, but I recently had the opportunity to taste off some rather scrumptious berries from another locale, Scott Strawberry and Tomato Farms in Unicoi, Tennessee. And for my Lowcountry brothers and sisters seething at the thought of selecting anything over a South Carolina product, the choice at the time was a direct result of having been in contact with Fred Sauceman. Though I imagine he'd acknowledge that we worked together or around each other at East Tennessee State University in the 1980's he's less likely to acknowledge I have any authority in the food world. But his opinion weighs heavy for me in what is to be considered "good food" so I follow his posts on Facebook to gander at his food photos and read about his latest culinary endeavors. While he's the full time East Tennessean and I'm the full time South Carolinian this whole business of tasting off strawberries started when he posted a photo and commented on some Upstate SC strawberries he had acquired. So naturally I felt compelled to try the same in reverse on my recent visit to East Tennessee. All I can say is the berries from Scott's were super sweet and though I tagged Mr. Sauceman on my FaceBook photo glowing about the attributes of the berries in his back yard he overlooked the gesture and remained quite mute on the point. But then I'm not one to crave acknowledgement and the whole point of the exercise was to try them not to throw them up in the face of a published Southern Food writer. Bottom line, I love the berries in my backyard in South Carolina and when my backyard is East Tennessee I continue to adore the berries in my backyard. Therefore, I'm not making a choice between two rich jewels at all, am I!? Nor should you.
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