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Pepperberry - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
This is how far my collector's impulse extends. Back in the early 1990s, among the pleasures Kim and I enjoyed during our many trips to Mendocino County were the unusual offerings of the Mendocino Beverage Company. Northern California was the leading edge for "fusion" waters and the Mendocino flavors were first in line. Our favorite, by far, was Pepperberry, described on the label as follows:
A delicious secret in French cuisine combines fresh ground pepper with sweet strawberries and Mendocino has captured it in a bottle: "PEPPERBERRY"!
Sadly, Pepperberry was only around for a couple years. When it became clear that the flavor was being phased out, I purchased a six-pack of the single-serving bottles and deposited them on the staircase-to-nowhere in our Vallejo flat. It had been less than two years since I moved in, so the steps weren't as "impacted" with my piles of books and papers as they would later become. Periodically, I would be forced to rearrange those piles in search of something I needed for my research and would find the Pepperberry buried beneath, covered in the ample dust of 617 Napa Street.

Needless to say, I moved the six-pack to Tucson. It has been sitting on the bottom shelf of our cleaning supplies-and-liquor Rubbermaid cabinet in the garage ever since. A few months back, I decided to put a bottle in the fridge for eventual consumption. Today, trying to make room for all the leftovers from our party, I took the plunge, supplementing the somewhat dissipated carbonation of the Pepperberry with a little Gerolsteiner. Delicious!!!

Now, given the positive associations I have with Pepperberry -- many of my best times with Kim have been spent in the Mendocino area -- I will have to save the empty bottle along with other fragile memorabilia -- I have boxes for that sort, as well as for papers -- and find an appropriate time to consume the other five bottles.

I've also taken the liberty of documenting the bottle in which this delicious beverage came -- the sadness of the past tense is overwhelming -- to commemorate its eccentric grandeur:

Bottle of Pepperberry

Doesn't it look like the strawberry on top is crying?

I realize that people collect wine. But there seems to be an important difference between collecting something that it is deemed reasonable to collect and something that makes people shake their heads in bemused mock dismay. Then again, I suppose that reaction is preferable to the sort with which the collecting of Nazi memorabilia is met.

Anyway, I'm wondering how much I should read into the fact that I boldly drank the Pepperberry this morning, not to mention that I adulterated it for the sake of taste. Maybe I'm going to start collaring the day in order to shake the loose change from its pockets.

Mode: peppy
Muse: Bullitt - Lalo Schiffrin - TV theme

8 comments or Leave a comment
cpratt From: cpratt Date: May 16th, 2004 09:30 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
If it's any consolation I still have the OK Soda bottles from a trip to Denver in September 1994. Sometimes it's OK to collect things, you know. :)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: May 16th, 2004 10:06 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Me Too

And I have a couple OK Soda cans somewhere, just because you gave them too me!
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: May 17th, 2004 12:13 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

ghost stories at the dinner table

I'm not convinced the transfusion of Gerolsteiner has to be a bad thing. Fusion on top of fusion seems like poetry sometimes, or tastes that way.

I'm in a weird mood today and I like the haunting by nostalgia here, nostalgia already itself a haunting, the haunting doubled. Today history doesn't seem like lineation.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: May 17th, 2004 03:02 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: ghost stories at the dinner table

I'm in a fatigued mode, but a decent mood. But I'm with you on the not seeming like lineation!

I suppose collectors welcome haunting, facilitate it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 11th, 2004 06:57 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I too am a closet Pepperberry collector. My high school angst was fueled by double espresso chased with a bottle of Mendocino's finest. Suprisingly, 3 years after it was phased away I found 2 bottles in a refigerator in a liquor store/ deli in a sketchy part of Oakland. I still have them hidden away, awaiting a very special occasion.
I feel your pain....
There are plenty of strawberry sodas out there that you can add your own pepper to, but nothing beats Mendocino...

cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: July 17th, 2004 08:42 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It's so wonderful to hear from someone who shares my fetish! Sorry it took so long to get your reply up. I forgot to unscreen it.

Be aware that the carbonation will be largely gone when you pop the lid. . . :-)
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 12th, 2004 10:56 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I too LOVED this drink...I used to drink it after swim practice as my rewardd for hard work...I have been searching feverishly on the internet for it...for years. that's sad. is the company still in business?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: December 12th, 2004 11:35 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I believe so. They just stopped making pepperberry, sadly. Thanks for writing!
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