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Ann Cannon: Contemplating 3 full bottles of rice vinegar

I decided to clean out my pantry while listening to a football game last weekend, and here's what I found — three bottles of rice vinegar. All of them were full, too.

So now I have a lot of questions. FOR INSTANCE: Why did I have three full bottles of rice vinegar in my pantry? And what is rice vinegar anyway? Also, does rice vinegar taste any different than regular vinegar?

(Here are the answers, in case you're interested. (1) I have three bottles because once a decade when I make something that calls specifically for rice vinegar, I apparently go, "RICE VINEGAR! RICE VINEGAR! I DON'T HAVE ANY RICE VINEGAR!" So then I run to the grocery store and buy another bottle! Which promptly gets lost with the other bottles in the back of my pantry! (2) Rice vinegar is a condiment made from fermented rice. So yeah. Feel free to make yourself some vinegar whenever you have a bunch of leftover fermented rice at your house. (3) Yes. Or at least that's what they tell me. My palate isn't finely tuned enough to tell for myself. I will say this, however — both types of vinegar work equally well in Exploding Volcano Science Fair Projects.)

The bottles of vinegar also raised a few larger philosophical questions for me. FOR INSTANCE: Do the bottles of vinegar represent some sort of failure on my part? Does the fact that I have three of them mean I am a poor manager? Do other women have multiple bottles of rice vinegar in their pantries? And if the answer is "no, they don't," what does this say about those women? That they're better than I am?

Yes. That's EXACTLY what it says about them. Those women ARE better than I am. Clearly they are better managers of household resources such as rice vinegar. No doubt they keep their homes cleaner than I do, too. For instance, they probably don't have my dogs' muddy paw prints all over their kitchen floors. Possibly because my dogs don't live at their houses. But whatever.

My guess is that these women are better mothers than I am, too. They never lost notes from the school or blew off the Sally Foster gift wrap fund-raiser or got behind on immunizations or forgot soccer treats, which, BTW, is pretty much punishable by death in some leagues.

COACH: Mrs. Cannon forgot the soccer treats!

REFEREE: Then it's off with her head!

(Moral of the story? Dude! DO. NOT. FORGET. THE. SOCCER. TREATS.)

Not only are these women excellent homemakers and mothers, they probably have interesting, meaningful careers and flat abs and cool scrapbooks they made themselves. Plus they do volunteer work. In Africa.

One more thing. Their exploding volcanoes always work better than mine do. Even though I have more vinegar.

Which brings me to my final philosophical question. Would a GUY ever look at three bottles of vinegar and regard them as a symbol of his personal failure? Um. No. He might think of all the volcanoes he can blow up. And he might start thinking about other things he could blow up, which might remind him of things he already HAD blown up at places like Scout camp. Or possibly in a junior high school locker room.

But he would NEVER see three bottles of vinegar as anything more than ... three bottles of vinegar.


E-mail: acannon@desnews.com