By Laura Leasman
I was thinking about vinegar today and kept returning to two aspects of vinegar: its smell and its mother. Why? Because I had time on my hands while plucking big yellow feathers at work (I make Big Bird for stage shows). How do these three things, vinegar, mother, and work all fit together?
Vinegar’s strong aroma seems to be an affront to the senses of someone who is not accustomed to it. I have acclimated to the smell and when entering Dad’s Vinegary I feel much the same sensation as when walking outside on a below-zero day in a Minnesota winter. Your breath is stolen for a moment and it almost hurts to breath; but the body acclimates. I have come to, almost, enjoy the smell. It reminds me of home and the enjoyment the process of making vinegar brings my Dad. It may not be a great idea to cook a generous quantity of vinegar in a microwave at work however. The aroma may be found off- putting to the less vinegar-educated individual.
I, as well as my siblings, have learned a bit about how vinegar is made from our Dad. Through this process we have learned that the gelatinous mass that forms in some vinegar is called “mother.” It may start as a wispy cloud and, if left to form in a large quantity, it can form a thick slimy layer. The mother is not harmful and is a product of the process of making vinegar.
I work at the same company as my sister (she makes Ernie’s shoes)and one day her boss came up to me with a vinegar question.